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The Beach Dogs - Colin Dann

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Colin Dann / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 144 Pages / Book is published 1989-07-06 by Red Fox

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      06.01.2012 20:25
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      A great book about three great dogs on a journey

      I bought this book a number of years ago. If I remember right, it was from a second hand book shop I found while on holiday and it was the cover that really drew me to the book as it is quite colourful and has 3 dogs on the front. I've always liked dogs and I recognised the authors name (Colin Dann) so I decided to buy it and I'm glad I did.

      The first page starts off with a list of local attractions which isn't the most interesting start, but once you get past that it sets the scene well of a small coastal town. It's then that you are taken to a small cafe known as Seagull Cafe and you are told of the couple that own it. The story is not about them though, but their dog Zoe, a West Highland White.

      The owners don't get much of a mention here other than the fact they let the dog roam around during the day as they don't want a dog in a place with food, making you feel sorry for Zoe as they really don't seem to care about her.

      Zoe isn't completely alone as she has a friend, an old dog named Bertram, but she spends a lot of time exploring while Bertram sleeps. Not much is said about either of the dog's lives at the start, but it's clear that the owners aren't very interested them and all they really have is each other. Or at least, that was the case until Zoe found Jack, a terrier, and begins spending time with him while Bertram sleeps in his usual spot.

      Jacks owner has a boat and often goes across to an island and this is where the story really starts. Jack invites Zoe and Bertram to come over to the island with him, claiming it has amazing things, including a giant. Zoe, being young and adventurous like Jack, loves the idea. Bertram is not so keen, but feels he needs to take care of Zoe and keep an eye on Jack. So the three come up with a plan to get on to the boat and travel over to the island.

      Jack says there will be food and shelter and he'll show them the giant he claims lives there, but things don't quite go to plan when they reach the island and, especially with winter setting in, fending for themselves isn't going to be that easy. This is a story of the journey the dogs go on with twists and turns along the way. I won't go into any more detail on this though as it will ruin the story.

      The dogs are portrayed more like humans, speaking to each other and appearing to have at least some understanding of the world. Bertram and Zoe are more like a family. Bertram is the old, wise dog and plays the role of the Dad, looking out for the two younger dogs. Zoe calls him grumpy and thinks he spoils things by refusing to do anything and sleeping so much, but she obviously cares about him and doesn't like the idea of going to the island without him. Zoe is like the daughter, young and full of energy, but still needing someone to look after her. Jack is also young and full of energy. He thinks he knows a lot, but he doesn't. As the story goes on you see how they adapt to their new lives and learn how to survive on the island.

      The three characters work well together. They all think differently, but mostly they manage to get along and look out for each other which is interesting to see. It's also nice to see things from the dogs point of view and you can't help but wonder what dogs really do think about things.

      Colin Dann is a good writer, best known for his Farthing Wood books. Everything is described well and you can really understanding how the dogs are feeling and what they're thinking. At 144 pages the book is quite short, but a lot happens and you won't be disappointed. With 18 chapters you can probably work out that most chapters are not that long, but personally I prefer that as it means that if you only have a couple of minutes you can easily read a chapter and don't have to worry about finding a good place to stop.

      You can get this book for around 98p from Amazon or at about £1.60 on play.com, which is a really good price.

      Overall this is a good book that may be aimed at children, but is a good read for anyone who likes dogs. Recommended.

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