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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Sassy silliness abounds in Roddy Doyle's masterpiece of holiday mayhem, Rover Saves Christmas. It's Christmas Eve, and Santa's in a panic because he's already behind schedule and Rudolph is on strike, the victim of both the flu and some sort of midlife crisis. It seems that none of the other reindeer are capable of filling Rudolph's shoes, but that's okay, because Santa has someone else in mind: a dog named Rover.
Rover isn't just any dog. He walks, he talks, he has a brain the size of Africa, and he makes a nice living selling his poo to practical jokers. The two youngsters who live next door to Rover, Robbie and Jimmy Mack, are delighted to discover the dog's higher calling, for they get to go along for the ride and spend Christmas Eve traveling around the world in Santa's sleigh. But nothing in this ticklish tale is that straightforward, including the story itself, which is filled with silly asides, ridiculous non sequiturs, and comical commercial breaks. The worldwide trip is plagued with obstacles, including a group of machine guntoting boorakooka birds, the persistent progress of the clock, and several moments of Santa self-doubt that threaten to bring the sleigh tumbling out of the sky. But with a bit of ingenuity that has the crew bungee-jumping down chimneys and using a star constellation shaped like a monkey's bum to guide them, Santa prevails, and Christmas once again arrives on schedule. Well, maybe just a few minutes late.
Doyle drops names with shameless abandon, pulling them from an eclectic group that includes such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen and Harry Potter. There are also dozens of sly cultural references guaranteed to generate a snort or two among adults, who will have as much fun as any kid (maybe more) with the story. With its clever wordplay, offbeat humor, and touch of Christmas magic, Rover Saves Christmas is destined to become a traditional holiday classic. (Beth Amos)