Book Review: Dakota Douglas’ WOOF

Posted May 20, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Dakota Douglas’ WOOF


on December 31, 2013 and has 41 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

There are actually two short stories in this book, a copy of which I received from the author.

My Take

It’s a cute pair of stories with some life lessons for both the parents and a shy little boy with the help of man’s best friend. And yet I’m torn. While I like the intelligence in the writing — I DO like an author who doesn’t talk down to kids! — I think the sentences are too advanced for the intended audience. There is also a passion lacking in this as well as a lack of concentration.

By concentration, I mean that Douglas glosses too quickly over the lessons. It’s also too easy. Jeremy and Rufus swap with no effort, mom and dad capitulate too quickly, and the doctor is too smart. All of which conflicts with the intelligence of the writing which subconsciously leads me to expect more detail, more depth.

A bit more emotion with an emphasis on each lesson would make for a more exciting and playful story.

That said, I did like it. I was shy as a kid when I went outside my neighborhood, and I can empathize with Jeremy’s dilemma, trying to fit in, wanting to be accepted. It’s when Jeremy is taken outside of himself that he learns to step outside of his fears.

I loved that the swapping left Rufus (as a human) with his “woof” while Jeremy (as a dog) could still talk — and I wish Douglas had played this up more. It would have led to some great tension and more funny moments. It could be fun in future installments if Jeremy learned to throw his voice.

I did love all the disgusting things Rufus did do as a little boy — that bit with the puddle…LOL. That line of dad’s…”So what can we do?” Well, duhh… The doctor is a most practical man! Still, dad has some great possibilities — that wink in the second story holds great promise.

That initial swap back had great potential for tension. Unfortunately it remains only a potential.

In the second story, I enjoyed getting inside Rufus’ head — I’m hoping that Jeremy takes this particular lesson to heart in future installments! And what the very bright Rufus had to “say” about Mrs. Turner!

And thank god Douglas didn’t Americanize this!! I really hate that publishers feel this unwarranted need to “translate” a British novel into American. Yuck! So thank you very much, Ms. Douglas, for providing kids with the opportunity to stretch!

The Stories

The first is an introduction to Jeremy’s problems and how Rufus helps solve it while the second is more of an adventure with Jeremy and Rufus saving the day, er, neighborhood.

The Characters

Jeremy Turner and his parents have just moved into the neighborhood. Rufus is a stray dog who makes friends with Jeremy.

Mrs. Peacock is the housekeeper and definitely not interested in children.

The Cover and Title

The cover is accurate in terms of the story idea, but is deceptive in terms of Douglas’ language. That said, I love the bright orange background and the cartoon frame-up of Jeremy hugging Rufus.

The title is, LOL, too true. It’s one heck of a WOOF that changes everything for Jeremy.


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