TruckDogs

Base, Graeme

Published by Harry N. Abrams
ISBN 10: 0810950316 / ISBN 13: 9780810950313
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Synopsis: Is it an animal with an engine? Or is it a machine with floppy ears and a wet nose?

"With the eye of a Renaissance painter and the early Dr. Seuss, Graeme Base is not your basic children's book author." -People magazine

Graeme Base-whose picture books have sold millions of copies worldwide-has turned his creative talents to writing fiction. He and Molly, his Labrador friend and collaborator on this project, have written a dog story of epic proportions.

In a far-off desert world, evolution has taken an unexpected turn. The dominant life form is a creature covered in fur with steel panels beneath. It gnaws on bones and sniffs lampposts but fills up on oil, brake fluid, and petrol to keep running. And it's wonderfully clever with its wheels and side-view mirrors-able to do just about anything, in fact-which is lucky since it doesn't have arms or legs. It's an animal with an engine. Or is it a machine with floppy ears and a wet nose? Either way, it's known as a TruckDog. And this is the story of how the world of TruckDogs was saved by a most young and unlikely hero.

Review: Beloved Australian author and illustrator Graeme Base of Animalia, and Eleventh Hour fame tries his hand at writing something longer--"a novel in four bites"--but with mixed results.

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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Bibliographic Details

Title: TruckDogs
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine

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