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Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

4.2 81
by Berkeley Breathed

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!

"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."—The New York Times

Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More


The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!

"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."—The New York Times

Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart.

Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed's first illustrated novel is a heartwarming and humorous ode to the unconditional and lasting love we and our pets share.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Flawed Dogs

 "Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."—The New York Times

"Flawed Dogs is hilarious and sweet with a message of friendship and faithfulness that anyone (even cat lovers) will find uplifting. Each animal in the book is an unforgettable character, drawn and written with Berkeley Breathed's signature brand of wit. His illustrations add an extra measure of emotion to the already lovely book. Berkeley Breathed's illustrations are amazing and they impart the message of the story with humor and poignancy."—Common Sense Media

"Breathed knows how to use just the right language to engage even the most reluctant readers. This book will warm the hearts of animal lovers and promises to engage readers to the very last line."—Children's Literature

"[S]mooth writing and humorous exaggeration...[T]he various canine and feline players are an endearing mix of odd attributes and engaging personalities." —Kirkus Reviews

"A moving tale about the beauty of imperfections and the capacity for love." —Publishers Weekly

"[An] engaging and well-paced tale." —School Library Journal

"An easily understood but very fun and crazy plot that takes hold of the reader."—VOYA

John Schwartz
Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Bloom County cartoonist Breathed (Pete & Pickles) makes the move from picture books to middle-grade fiction and, from the harrowing opening scene at a dog fight, readers will be rapt. After spending eight years isolated at a boarding school in Minnesota, 14-year-old orphan Heidy McCloud is invited to live with her dejected uncle Hamish, greedy Mrs. Beaglehole and their evil poodle, Cassius, on the vacant McCloud Heavenly Acres dog ranch in Piddleton, Vt., “Home of the World's Most Beautiful Dogs.” En route, Heidy meets Sam, a Duüglitz dachshund worth $180,000, and a reciprocal, platonic love is born. However, Cassius resents the attention Sam receives and sets a trap resulting in the dachshund's imprisonment in a pound with “the seven most ridiculous dogs [Sam] had ever seen,” as well as Sam's suffering an awful injury. But the dog's determination to reunite with Heidy doesn't wane. Dramatically lit and featuring comically exaggerated characters (human and canine alike), Berkeley's b&w artwork augments the story's drama and humor. A moving tale about the beauty of imperfections and the capacity for love. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Summer Whiting
Sam the Lion is not a lion at all—at least not in the physical sense. He is beaten down and feels dejected. No matter that he is one of a kind and worth $180,000! His life has been nothing short of rough, and it is about to get even worse. When his soulmate, a human named Heidi, is sent to live with her uncle, she rescues Sam and the two became fast friends. Unfortunately for them, Cassius, the resident poodle, is jealous of Heidi's love for Sam. He makes it his goal to undermine the unknowing dachshund. After being framed for some pretty awful tricks, Sam is put up for adoption. Unable to accept the recent turn of events, he makes it his mission to prove to the world that he was set up. He begins his journey to find his beloved owner. This story follows this spirited pup through staggering capers and shenanigans. Breathed knows how to use just the right language to engage even the most reluctant readers. This book will warm the hearts of animal lovers and promises to engage readers to the very last line. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
VOYA - Jenna Yee
Flawed Dogs is written in first person with an easily understood but very fun and crazy plot that takes hold of the reader. As you read about Sam, you feel how he struggles with himself. The plot is not uncommon, but the story from a dog's point of view balances out the predictability. Teen readers who like animal stories will like this book. Reviewer: Jenna Yee, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
From the moment the show dog Sam the Lion meets Heidy, the fourteen-year-old orphaned niece of a rich man, the two are inseparable. They dance together in their first dog show and amaze the crowd. Cassius, the poodle that belongs to the caretaker, plots a way to get rid of Sam so he can have his rightful place as Heidy's favorite. When it looks as if Sam has attacked a baby, he is shot at by Heidy's uncle. During the next year he is taken by the sheriff to a holding cell for unwanted animals, caught in a trap where he loses his leg, and befriended by a man who uses him for pit fighting. Through it all, Sam is kept alive by his love for Heidy. Finally he decides to sneak into the Westminster dog show to have a showdown with Cassius in order to reunite with Heidy. The animals in this story talk to each other but communicate with the humans in their usual ways, through barks, tail wagging, and kisses. The story is told with humor. Names include Mrs. Beaglehole, Mrs. Nutbush, and St. Egregious School. Comments such as "whistles are to dogs what a pricked thumb is to a vampire" are scattered throughout. The author is a cartoonist known for the comic strip Bloom County and a picture book that inspired this work. The illustrations, both black-and-white and color, are detailed and add to the cartoonlike nature of the story. Although some characters are caricatures and the time spanned in the novel creates a few holes, readers will root for the spunky dachshund to the very end. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This chapter book is a spin-off of Breathed's 2003 picture book of the same name (Little, Brown). Sam the dachshund was bred to be an award-winning show dog, right down to his priceless "Duüglitz tuft." But Sam has no interest in appearances; like all dogs, beautiful or "flawed," all he really wants is to belong to someone special, and to be loved. After a dramatic escape from his frightful new owner, he sneaks into a girl's luggage and soon wins her affections. But Cassius, a champion full-size poodle and denizen of Sam's new home, is not accustomed to being second in anyone's heart and is determined to get rid of him. What follows is a series of misadventures for Sam and a group of abandoned animals from the National Last-Ditch Dog Depository. Featuring some harrowing moments, this is not a story for the faint of heart, but readers will definitely be rooting for Sam and his comically imperfect band of followers. Black-and-white and full-color illustrations, done in the award-winning author's familiar style, are sprinkled throughout, adding depth to an already engaging and well-paced tale.—Jessica Marie, Renton Public Library, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Breathed's fans won't be surprised by the dark tone of this outlandish tale, but readers expecting a heartwarming pet story may be taken aback by the difficulties that face Sam, the canine hero. Luckily, smooth writing and humorous exaggeration make it relatively easy to get through the violence of a dog-fighting ring, the perfidy of an envious poodle and three long (mercifully undescribed) years in a research lab. Characterization of the humans is sketchy at best, but the various canine and feline players are an endearing mix of odd attributes and engaging personalities (except for the murderous poodle). Sam's clever plot to infiltrate the Westminster dog show combines the suspense of an over-the-top caper film with the slapstick of the Marx Brothers (Mrs. Nutbush bears a striking resemblance to Margaret Dumont). Clearly growing out of, but not a simple expansion of, the 2003 picture book of the same name, these pups' tale carries the same message of caring and concern and will likely worm its way into the hearts of readers able to persist through the problems and pain. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.92(d)
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Berkeley Breathed (www.berkeleybreathed.com) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the renowned comic strips "Bloom County," "Outland," and "Opus" which have appeared in over 1,200 newspapers worldwide and have earned Berkeley millions of loyal fans. He recently decided to bring back "Bloom County" after a 25-year absence and has been overwhelmed by the response—and by how much fun he is having. Berkeley Breathed is also the creator of the illustrated novel Flawed Dogs and the New York Times bestselling picture books Mars Needs Moms! andPete & Pickles. He lives and works in Santa Barbara, California.

Customer Reviews

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Flawed Dogs 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 80 reviews.
FromtheZoo More than 1 year ago
Parts of the story were very sad, and other parts were laugh-out-loud funny. Overall, it was a sweet story that we enjoyed together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story of a dog who is perfect. He meets a girl named heidi and... YOU MUST READ IT!!!!!!! I cant explain it but its so touching. A bit like edward tulane by kate dicamillo ( another great book ) but instead of a china rabbit its about a dog. It will hypnotise u and u cant put it down! READ!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will give away the whole book if i try to explain but its no waste of money! A bit sad but... u know what im gonna say... read it!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a HUGE fan of Berkeley Breathed from way back. Love, love, love anything he does. The illustrations are amazing and the story is funny. Great buy.
hayesPT More than 1 year ago
I'm going to have to sound like some paid advertisement, because I have to say that Flawed Dogs is inspirational and oh so warm and fuzzy. To hear the story on which this book is based, is the truly inspirational part. How the dogs are drawn and portrayed is the warm and fuzzy part. What average human being hasn't watched the big dog shows with some feeling of "HUH?"...or just plain disgust. Most us are not Pits and Jolies, hence no pedigree. So, reading that the head judge at the Westminster dog show actually was motivated to bring in a mangled mutt she found on the steps outside the show and then put the winning 1st place ribbon on him...if only as a attention grabber, THAT IS INSPIRATIONAL and entirely selfless as well! THe artwork is so imaginative, funny, and beautiful. If you dont like the book its only because you must be a Pitt or Jolie and lucky you! pt
Tcms Tornado More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!! I read it for the first time in second grade and I haven't forgotten the book since. Great book for bedtime stories.
Allison Snead More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my 2 year old, and now we read it every night. He has practically memorized every word! I haven't downloaded it yet, but I know I will soon!
Elizabeth Lesko More than 1 year ago
I'm a dog lover and I looooove this book!
Linda Conrado More than 1 year ago
my favorite book of all time
Doublewired More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorite books because it had all of the things I was looking for, adventure, creativity, happiness and a little bit of sadness to top it off. I love dogs so i really loved this book as you could probably tell. Good is in the details of this book and that is why I give this book four stars.
Awntie More than 1 year ago
This little book tells a little story about how one person can be moved to see the beauty of even the most challenging of gifts. In the end each of us is just a flawed dog who needs to be accepted just as we are.
dogcatcher More than 1 year ago
It isn't what i thought it was going to be about when purchased, but i was glad to find that it helped find homes for animals in another part of the country, i work as an Animal Control Officer and try to find a variety of things that are about animals, this was very intriguing to me and well worth it's price.
daggel More than 1 year ago
Got this book as a gift and will buy it for dog lovers on my Christmas list this year too.

What a wonderful, quirky, downright hysterically funny little book - the illustrations are worth the price - and the writing is funny beyond words.
If you have a sense of wonder, the absurd, the ability to understand what acceptance and love are about, you will treasure this book.
I alternated between tears of laughter and pity -- but, believe me, the laughter will win out.
It's a message, but will leave you feeling good. The last lines alone are worth the price.
If you love animals - even if you just have a wacky sense of humor - this book is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible. Each time I read it I laugh until I cry. The art is histerical, and I think, as I said, it is the best kid's book there can be, along with other Berkely Breathed books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is wonferful, truely a must read for all people. Really puts the needs of the dogs first. I hope everyone who reads this goes out and adopts one of these amazing dogs and finds the love that I found in my two rescue dogs!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This could've been me! I've always wanted to open a shelter for the dogs nobody else wanted. But this story was told in such a wonderful, FUNNY way. The illlustrations are so creatively ingenious- I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't like it. Unless, of course, they are those 'Pet Show People' with Registered Name Brand Foo-Foo Dogs that cost $800 with names like Sir Winston Rainwater Lion-Hearted Billy Bob Royale III (aka B-Bob). That would certainly explain it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed my bottom off looking at this book. Its a bit dark but has a great message that all four (three) footed and furry creatures deserve love. The illustrations sometimes lack a certain finesse you'd expect from airbrush but the style works for the material, with hilarious results. 'Noodles' was my personal favorite, with 'Lulu' running a close second. Read this book if you need a side split or if you understand bizarre humor like the far-side.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recived the book as a gift and I was annoyed that the wonderful traits of these dogs were not included. I will agree that the illustrations were great. But the story was not one that I enjoyed. I had to stop the other members of my family from throwing this gift away they took great offense that someone would give this to a fmily that loves dogs not only for their outer appearance but for the inner traits that maked dogs what they are a valuable companion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book on the surface is very funny. The illustrations are beautifully rendered but read more closely. I was smiling at the beginning but very teary-eyed at the end. The message of this book should not be ignored. My 6 year old daughter laughed at the funny pictures but totally missed the message. Buy this book, read this book and then open your heart to a 'flawed dog' in a shelter somewhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a FUNNY book. I've never laughed so hard. Coffee table book of the year! These poor dogs have it all. Thanks
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has it ALL!!!! Awesome illustrations and hilarious lyrics. I especially liked the tennis balls (you'll get it once you see it). Because of this book I am ordering all of Berkeley Breathed's books. I cannot wait to share this one with everyone!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read it uet but i have heard rhat it is a great book!! Im exited to read it!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Join here and maybe i will let you through...... o and this book is great i love it so much and im a cat person!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me cry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books, so sweet, sad, silly, and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It gave me a warm feeling then a heart broken fealling a scared feeling and a lot more! Please get it and dont forget the adio book! Warning... some parts are scary