Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service

Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service

4.0 2
by Jenny Lee, Kelly Light
     
 

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It's been months since Benji's former therapy dog, Elvis, was whisked away by the Secret Service, but Benji still misses him terribly. Luckily, because Elvis is now the president's dog, Benji can keep tabs on him via all the pictures and videos that are online.

While watching footage of the president's speech on the White House lawn, Benji and his friends

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Overview

It's been months since Benji's former therapy dog, Elvis, was whisked away by the Secret Service, but Benji still misses him terribly. Luckily, because Elvis is now the president's dog, Benji can keep tabs on him via all the pictures and videos that are online.

While watching footage of the president's speech on the White House lawn, Benji and his friends Alexander and Taisy notice Elvis doing something very strange with his tail. Could he be trying to send them a message?

And so begins another madcap adventure in which these underdog best friends will have to find a way to get to DC, discover the truth behind Elvis's secret-coded cry for help, and solve a national pastry crisis . . . or Benji may have to say good-bye to his beloved Elvis for good.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-31
Happy-go-lucky Benji Barnsworth and his fellow underdogs pursue goofy adventures through Washington, D. C., in Lee's feel-good sequel to Elvis and the Underdogs (2013). It's been three months since Elvis, Benji's talking service/therapy/emotional-support dog was returned to his original assignment: the president of the United States. Landing in the hospital yet again, Benji searches for videos of the curmudgeonly first dog and finds Elvis wagging an urgent message in Morse code, which Alexander Chang-Cohen, his "human computer" friend, naturally deciphers. Benji, along with Alexander and perky star athlete Taisy, must get to Washington (via convenient coincidences tailored to their character traits) and rescue Elvis from becoming a prime minister's birthday present. It's best to abandon disbelief as the "pack" wreaks havoc on the White House in a series of slapstick mishaps and miscommunications. The service-dog terminology remains careless, but Elvis' elaborately denied jealousy of Benji's new dog provides comic banter as well as relationship development—he gets in some great deadpan one-liners. Alexander and Taisy are nearly caricatures, but at least their extreme traits illustrate the book's message: Friendship "requires a tolerance pact. You tolerate all my weirdo quirky things and I'll tolerate yours." The resolution is fluffy if implausible, with any loose ends tied in a bow—but then, the chronically, wackily unfortunate Benji deserves to have something go right. A light, warm and (very) fuzzy read. (Fiction. 8-12)
Booklist
“[A] rich, funny tale”
Booklist (starred review)
Praise for ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS: “A funny, unabashedly feel-good boy-and-dog story. . . . This crowd-pleasing debut is definitely ready for prime time.”
School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 3–6—It has been months since Benji Barnsworth watched the Secret Service drive away with Elvis, the 200-pound Newfoundland therapy dog originally intended for the president, but who was delivered to Benji by mistake. Ripley, his new therapy dog, is fine, but he doesn't talk. Benji misses Elvis, so he and friends Taisy and Alexander keep tabs on Elvis online. Benji notices that Elvis looks a bit strange during one presidential speech, and he realizes that Elvis is sending a coded message with his tail—he needs help. The group of friends must get to Washington, DC, and rescue Elvis. It's easy enough to suspend disbelief and embrace a talking dog. The idea of two erroneously-delivered therapy dogs is a stretch, but when one recipient is the President of the United States, credulity strains. Benji's winning voice and his madcap antics charmed in the first installment, but the sequel doesn't hold up as well and feels overly long. While it is unlikely that many middle-grade readers will be familiar with White House protocol and security measures, some may have a hard time buying the ease with which Benji and his pals not only get to DC, but gain access to the White House. The narrator is a sweet and earnest character, if a bit self-aware. The adults are little more than clueless props, while the action is over-the-top slapstick.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062235565
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/27/2014
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
550,515
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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