Smart Dog
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Smart Dog

4.5 16
by Vivian Vande Velde
     
 

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Amy Prochenko is only in fifth grade, but she already has a sixth grader's problems: She is wildly unpopular, she is the target of prissy Kaitlyn Walker's nastiness, and everyone thinks she and the dweebiest boy in class are an item. Then one day Amy meets Sherlock, a dog on the run from a university lab. Sherlock is not like other dogs: He can talk, he's

Overview


Amy Prochenko is only in fifth grade, but she already has a sixth grader's problems: She is wildly unpopular, she is the target of prissy Kaitlyn Walker's nastiness, and everyone thinks she and the dweebiest boy in class are an item. Then one day Amy meets Sherlock, a dog on the run from a university lab. Sherlock is not like other dogs: He can talk, he's smarter than most of Amy's classmates--and he needs Amy's help. Suddenly Amy's life is full of danger and excitement, and she finds she is becoming, of all things, popular. Best of all, she finds in Sherlock the sort of friend she's always longed for--the sort of friend she must protect no matter what the cost.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sherlock and Amy will have readers cheering for them. The accessible vocabulary, quick-moving plot, and humor make the novel appealing for reluctant readers."--The Horn Book
"Rendered with an abundance of charm and wit."--Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
F-32 (or Sherlock, as he comes to be named) is a "smart dog" indeed--he has escaped from a university research lab where a scientific experiment has endowed him with speech and all sorts of other signs of intelligence. Unfortunately, the experiment is scheduled to end in the dissection of his brain; fortunately, Sherlock stumbles upon Amy, a painfully unpopular fifth-grader who is only too happy to help him. As she concocts a series of plans to keep him safe, Amy finds herself growing in confidence and courage. Although the supporting characters are familiar types (the smart nerd with the heart of gold, the mean-spirited popular girl, the evil vivisectionist), the enduring fantasy of a talking pet is rendered with an abundance of charm and wit. Sherlock is endearingly doggy and his academic abilities are humorously limited. For example, he can work a computer (he likes the games), but he gums up the keyboard by typing with a pencil eraser. As he and Amy try to figure out a solution to his problems, he asks her, "Do you want to scratch my belly while you're thinking?" His attempts to replicate the behavior of regular dogs will have readers giggling. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
Fifth grader Amy Prochenko is not the popular type. Snobs like Kaitlyn Walker will have nothing to do with her. Walking to school one day, Amy befriends a dog named F-32 who has escaped from the college research department. When Amy gets over her shock at a dog that can talk, she decides to change his name to Sherlock. Sherlock, an intelligent and kind dog, tells Amy that the scientists have decided to operate on his brain. Amy is determined to save Sherlock from this grisly fate. She and two of her classmates get tangled in a web of lies as they try to outwit the researchers and the jealous popular girl, Kaitlyn.s In the end, the children save the remarkable canine, and learn to appreciate the value of trust. A nice read-to-your-class novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-To say that F-32 is a smart dog is a gross understatement. He is computer literate, articulate, and a good judge of human character. This subject of a brain-enhancing science experiment engineers his escape from a research college, selects his "best friend," unpopular fifth-grader Amy Prochenko, and follows her to school. Not since Officer Buckle's Gloria [Officer Buckle & Gloria (Putnam, 1995)] has a dog had such a profound impact on students. Amy finds new friends and inner resources as she helps save the pup from the clutches of the evil scientist plotting brain dissection. Readers rooting for this canine will enjoy the twists and turns in this fast-moving story. Granted that some characters are breezily drawn-sidekick Sean is too good to believe and Kaitlyn, the controlling Miss Popular Know-it-all, is hissingly evil-but the underlying message about popularity and true friendship has rarely been so gently conveyed. Sister Mary Grace, the fifth-grade teacher, is a pleasure to meet. The ending, with both young and old villains getting their just deserts, is deliciously satisfying. Vande Velde, who has written dark fantasies about magical beings for older readers, uses a lighter hand for younger audiences. This book would make a great introduction to Robert O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Atheneum, 1971), the perennial favorite about escaped science subjects.-Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Kirkus Reviews
Fifth grader Amy Prochenko gets the surprise of her life walking to school one day. A dog tells her that he is in trouble and needs help. Amy can't believe what she hearsþdid the dog speak or is she crazy? Actually, the dog is super-intelligent F-32, an experiment from the local college who has run away because of an evil professor's plan to dissect his brain. A slapstick series of events ensues, from Amy's convincing her parents to keep the dog she redubs Sherlock, to keeping Sherlock's identityþand abilityþsecret, especially from stuck-up Kaitlyn, who bullies her every day. Her lies eventually spiral out of control, culminating in more misunderstandings. While there are a few comic scenesþparticularly one in which the parents come to school and learn how to make Ukrainian eggsþthe plot and characters are fairly well worn. When a biology department head marches in at the last moment to solve an abruptly sprung mystery, readers get overlong explanations instead of the rousing ending they've waited for. Fans of Vande Velde (Curses, Inc., 1997, etc.) will miss the vigor she's brought to her other fantastical musings. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152061722
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/01/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
301,741
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Sherlock and Amy will have readers cheering for them. The accessible vocabulary, quick-moving plot, and humor make the novel appealing for reluctant readers."—The Horn Book"Rendered with an abundance of charm and wit."—Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent, User Unfriendly, All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at www.vivianvandevelde.com.

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Smart Dog 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most amazing book ever. I highly doubt you won't like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW! Smart dog is a great book for any dog lover. Too bad for F-32, AKA Sherlock, Dr.Boden wanted to dissect his brain. Thanks for Amy, Sherlock has found a home,and a family that loves him. I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its a funfilled story about a dog who escapes a lab that gave him great intellgence. So then he finds a girl who can help him hide........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im finally done with the book it was a great book now I have to do a book report on it. :( I highly dought you will love it! Im not going to be surpized if I read it again please give me some help on what to do on my book report. Love, Sarah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bet this book will be great!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book a long time ago but i rember it as one of my favorites im going to reread it, i think that if you are under the age of 10 you will rely enjoy this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was funny. But I would have to say it is for younger kids. It was good and the plot was cute.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book two times and I wouldn't be surprise if i read it again. The book is funny, sad, and makes you mad at the maliciously evil popular girl some times. If you like dogs and tragic storis this is a good book for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Smart Dog is an extremely recommended book for kids. The plot has a lot of tension and it keeps you wanting to know more all the time. Once you started it, you are willing to keep reading. Moreover, who hasn't lied to the family in order to save something that seems important for us? Read it, you are going to find an unusual but funny story in front of your eyes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this book. (Not on nook) im halfway. I love when people spiol stories for me!!!! Can someone pleez spoil it for me? Reply to krystal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Would you believe me if I said the dog could talk in this book? All this comes to a town just like yours and mine. It has a school and a little neighborhood. A dog escaped from a college and comes to this town. Eleven year old Amy Prochenko ran into this dog named F-32. All the dog wants is to be ordinary. He askes Amy in a human voice if she could help him. Amy's response is "Yes". All of Amy's eleven year-old friends Minneh Tanner, and Sean Gorman try to protect the dog from the college. This is approite for kids: 7-11 years old. Any person who reads this book wiil love it because it is so funny. There are not many hard words but some are hard to pronounse.