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Set in the imaginary outback world of the TruckDog (a wild evolutionary hybrid that's either "an animal with an engine" or "a car with floppy ears and a wet nose"), Base's story starts out promisingly weird, but then promptly chases its tail in overcomplicated exposition and character development. Kids will probably take to the notion of a fuel-tanker dachshund or a drag-racer greyhound initially (they'll certainly pore over the 16 full-color plates illustrating various TruckDog "breeds"), but that attention will likely fade one-hundred pages into the convoluted and prosaic story about a town that needs to focus its bored, boisterous youth to fight off a gang of bandits.
Kids will likely love TruckDogs's rough-and-tumble descriptions, "Behind them stood a huge, snorting beast, solid muscle and steel, cruelly curved horns mounted above massive bony fenders: the TruckRam from hell." However, don't be surprised if disinterested young readers go tearing off mid-story to concoct TruckDog dramas of their own. (Ages 9 to 12) --Paul Hughes
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