DOGGONE...THIRD GRADE! by Colleen O’Shaughnessy McKenna


Age Range: 7 - 10
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Miss Tingle’s third-grade class is having a talent show. Lamont, Gordie, and Lucy are back in the newest installment of McKenna’s series for new readers (Third Grade Ghouls, 2001, etc.). Almost everyone has some sort of talent. Lucy draws with her eyes closed, Lamont plays the guitar, and Mikey plays the piano with both hands. Gordie, who thinks he has no talent, brags that his dog, Scratch, can do tricks. Unfortunately, that’s a lie and Gordie has a week to teach Scratch to do something—anything. Adding to Gordie’s third-grade misery is the arrival of Red, a new boy in school. Red is not only talkative, wealthy, and acts in television commercials, but he has a professionally trained dog. Gordie’s best friend Lamont is totally smitten with Red and seems to have no time for Gordie. Readers of the previous books in this series will be surprised at Lamont’s shallowness as they watch Red ply him with sleepovers, special trips to see an NBA game, and the like. In the previous novel, Lamont would never break a planned date for fishing, even if it were for something as special as a trip to Cleveland. Lamont redeems himself in the end by reconnecting with Gordie, but it’s a rather neat and tidy ending, even for the predictable world of early chapter books. Gordie’s dog learns his card trick, aided by a smear of beloved peanut butter on the correct card, and Red’s trained dog gets stage fright in front of a full class of elementary-school children. Readers never do learn whether Red finds any friends. Perhaps that’s for another volume. Roth’s delightful and emotional black-and-white illustrations, particularly of the bereft Gordie talking on the phone with Lamont, add a lot to this thin tale. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 15th, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1696-8
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002


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