KLIATT - Stephanie Squicciarini
Turk and his friends are not the most popular guys with girls, but he has quite accidentally discovered a way to change that. While walking Gretzky, a dog thrust upon him and his family by the wife of his dad's boss, he finds that girls who would not ordinarily even notice him actually stop to talk to him while admiring and playing with Gretzky. Turk devises a plan to help his buddies meet girls and turn around his financial situation, having just had his allowance cut off. He starts a dog-walking service with his friends as the walkers; the secret focus is all about meeting girls and not so much about the dogs. The plan works so well that he has trouble scheduling the walks and potentially ruins his chances with a girl he really likes. Part of the Orca Currents series aimed at middle school reluctant readers, Dog Walker is a quick read with believable characters. The brief nature of the books in the series does not allow for all that much development, but Turk is likeable and readers will relate to his relationship with his parents and his quest to get the girl. Recommended for reluctant readers in school and public libraries.
Children's Literature - Kelly Grebinoski
Babies and puppies seem to get the most spontaneous attention. Winston Turkington, a.k.a. Turk, capitalizes on this well-known fact. After Turk is summoned to watch his father's boss' dog (Gretzky), Turk gets a grand idea. He decides to start a dog walking business. Being a smart businessman, he decides to have his friends work for him because he would just run the business while taking fifty percent of the profit. Why does Turk want to walk dogs? Simple: to get girlfriends. He and his friends are not the most popular boys. Turk finds out from walking Gretzky that he gets a lot of attention from females. As the business takes off, Turk is confronted with a variety of situations to include booked schedules, employees who cannot work, and a bad first date. Along the way, this lazy Turk learns a little bit about work and about love. This book is great for reluctant readers and speaks to both the female population and the male population. The dialogue is real and the storyline is simple and, at times, funny.
When the eternally lazy Turk reluctantly walks his father's boss's fur ball of a dog, he learns that cute dogs have an advantage-they attract cute girls. Thus is born a new enterprise. Turk starts a dog walking business with his friends doing all the work in exchange for the fringe benefit, and Turk collects most of the profits. Unfortunately things do not work out quite the way Turk expected. Who will walk the unattractive dogs, what happens when the guy no one likes wants to walk dogs, and what about the lovely girl from the locker next door? This very short, very predictable tale is closer to a novella than a novel. The parents in it are portrayed as quite shallow and ultimately as irresponsible as they accused Turk of being in the first place. The book may be easy to present to reluctant readers-physically attractive, short, and a good plot idea-but it is not a must have. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Orca, 110p., pb. Ages 12 to 18.
"An amusing and clever book. Excellent."
"While this fast-paced, dialogue-filled romp is a delight for all dog lovers, any reader will enjoy Turk's quick-thinking solution that has him racing to keep the girl and the dog."
Washington State Revew Group
"A good choice for any reluctant reader...A fun and interesting story."
Canadian Book Review Annual
"A fun read...This book should appeal to both boys and girls. Recommended."
Read an Excerpt
"Just one question, Turk," Mom says. "Why didn't you tell us sooner?"
Mom must have read another parenting article. I can almost see the headline: Getting your Teen to Open Up to You.
"Well, er...I wanted to get my business running before I said anything. And," I put on my most innocent face, "I had this crazy idea you might think my business was something shady, stupid or immoral."
I can't tell for sure, but I think Mom and Dad almost look ashamed.