By Awnali Mills
I love funny books. Who doesn’t? And when we got a new copy of Woof by Spencer Quinn, I snagged it. Bowser and his human, Birdie, have just met. Bowser hasn’t had a good life, but things are definitely looking up now that Birdie has adopted him. Trouble is just around the corner, however. Birdie’s family store has been broken into and Birdie determines to find the thief. As Birdie follows clues, Bowser is right beside her, sniffing out leads and biting the bad guys. But will Bowser’s courage and strength be enough to keep Birdie safe?
Quinn really gets how dogs think, and the novel is written from Bowser’s perspective. He’s been abused—but hey, that’s in the past. He adores the way that Birdie smiles, but oftentimes her words are just the things that Bowser needs to drift to sleep. Bowser is dedicated to his girl, but his attention span is short, and he doesn’t really get how people think. He responds instinctively to body language and smells, and isn’t always in control of how he acts.
I laughed so hard at one point that I ended up reading a passage aloud to the staff who were in the lunchroom (at their request). Bowser is goofy and loveable, and even though he doesn’t really get everything that’s going on, he reports enough of it to us for US to understand what’s going on. I really enjoyed the fact that Bowser wasn’t an intelligent human inside a dog’s body. He’s a dog, and the sandwich tossed into the garbage can in front of him is much more important to him than whatever it is that Birdie might be looking for on the shelf. Sometimes he does the wrong thing out of the very best of intentions—something I’m sure kids can relate to.
Put this book into the hands of 3-5th graders who love animals, mysteries, or funny books.