From the Publisher
In his first story for children, Booker Prize winner Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha) pens a robustly silly romp served up with a generous helping of Irish cheek. At the outset of the tale, Mister Mack, a biscuit tester, is about to step in "dog poo." Displaying a gleefully sadistic sense of timing, Doyle draws out the suspense to outrageous lengths, interrupting his narrative with chapter after chapter of digressions that keep readers squirming in their seats until--does the patriarch step in it or doesn't he? . . . A bracingly rude dose of fun. -- Publishers Weekly Beware, all grown-ups who are contemplating being mean to a child. Do so at your peril. Pay no heed to this warning and you'll be in for . . . the Giggler Treatment! In this funny, very silly, and very gross story for middle graders, Booker-winning Irish author Doyle (for adults, A Star Called Henry, 1999, etc.) proposes that dog poo--a word he deeply enjoys using and describing--lays around for the punishment of adults who are unkind to kids. . . This ludicrous book should more than please the most fervent among the gross-out set. Wait till they see what passes for chapters here, too: one's named for the author's mother (so that he could stay up late) and another, for his refrigerator. Includes an exquisitely wacky glossary. -- Kirkus The award-winning adult novelist offers a delightfully funny and gross book that should appeal to the many fans of Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" series (Scholastic). . . . The comical pen-and-ink cartoons will bring additional giggles. The presence of dog poo as a major element will be enough to draw some readers, but the imaginative narrative and clever plotting make this more than just another silly read. -- School Library Journal
The book has as many surprises as an encyclopedia, including chapter headings that alone are worth the price of admission, but with none of the sobriety. To its credit, the plot is as contrived as possible and proves that, in the right hands, digression is an art form. To be more specific would be to spoil a whole lot of fun.The story is, just by its premise, slightly naughty, but nicely so, never offensively. Has a child ever not tittered about body functions, be they of man or beast? (Second graders, it seems to me, should be ready to handle the book themselves; after that, anyone who can still see the pages. And it was made for read-aloud family fun, no matter how young the audience.) It's in sum, and not to damn the book with the cliched praise of reviews, a delight. It really is clever, insightful, sensical, nonsensical, knowing, amusing, witty, wacky. It makes you laugh out loud; it makes you laugh to yourself. It gives you a contagious case of the you-know-whats.
-- The New York Times Book Review
The cast of characters from The Giggler Treatment (Scholastic, 2000) is back. This time the action shifts from Dublin to the North Pole as Rover is needed to replace Rudolph at the front of Santa's reindeer team. Fans of Dav Pilkey, Jon Scieszka, and Lemony Snicket will appreciate this zany, irreverent story that spoofs literary and bookmaking conventions and includes references to Harry Potter, dog poo, and monkeys' bums. Doyle depicts a somewhat insecure Santa who needs some spunky, problem-solving kids and a crafty dog to get the job done. Don't expect a straightforward, traditional, linear narrative. The wordplay and the gags are the important things here. Even the glossary of Irish expressions is part of the fun.
--School Library Journal, October 2001
Combine on talking dog, Santa Claus, his reindeer Rudolph, who has the flu, lizards that change their names to fit a climate, four children, and a variety of talking objects and appliances, add an irreverent tone and cheeky style, and presto: a nonsensical and nonlinear story based on the belief in Santa. Rover (The Giggler Treatment, 2000) subs for Rudolph and with
The 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)