Sunday 7 April 2024

The Dog Squad: The Race


 Written and fully illustrated by Clara Vulliamy.

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©, International Book Reviewer.

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring this week an Adventure in Middle Grade Fiction.

For our canine pals we have a wonderful new release from Clara. It's the second 7 to 11 year olds adventure featuring a whippet called Wafer, and his human child companions, Eva, Ash, and Simone. Together, they form the Dog Squad, up and coming school reporters at The News Hound paper, with an eye for the top story and are always up for adventure investigation and fun. 

So, without further ado, lets find out about their latest hot-off-the-press adventure!

AUTHOR:  Clara Vulliamy


Cover art by:  Clara Vulliamy


Published by:  Harper Collins Children's Books


Publication date Paperback:  OUT NOW


Paperback ISBN:  978-0-00-856539-8

UK Cover price for Paperback:  £6.99


Pages: 112


Age range:  7 - 11




Some as to plot direction and characters.



Thank you to... 


I am exceedingly grateful to Clara who personally sent over the digital pictures specifically so you all could enjoy them in the best possible way (IE without Mrs H's marmalade covered fingers in the picture). And huge thanks for Mrs H spending her pension and cycling twenty miles in the pouring rain to the not so local bookshop so we could Read & Review this awesome kids' publication.

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we have bought, been given as gifts, or received in exchange for an impartial review.

First and foremost, the books we review are those we select to read, like, and feel our global readers deserve to know about and that we hope they, their family, friends and students will enjoy.

The plot

Wafer is Eva’s pet whippet. She wants to help him make new pals. So, finding out there is a 'meet and greet' for shy dogs, down the local park the following Sunday, she decides to go. With her pals, Ash, who is non-binary, and Simone, they take Wafer for what they hope will be fun and a way to burn off some of Wafer’s heaps of energy. But it turns out to be a bit of a flop, as the dogs that turn up refuse to mix. 

On the way home, they bump into Sam, from the Wags and Whiskers day care centre. He suggests taking Wafer to do some whippet racing.

Which, having got Eva’s mum’s approval, is what the kids decide to do. But first, like the talented journalists they hope to be, they do some investigating. Armed with a training regimen for Wafer, which he takes to like a duck to water, they book him in to a local event.

Now, this is a short book, and so the remaining pages deal with events at and after the races Wafer has entered. Suffice it to say, it would not be an adventure for our Dog Squad Team of investigative reporters without something going on. 

We get introduced to a few characters, as well as their whippets. And from here, the Dog Squad gets a whiff of foul play and potentially dangerous goings on for the dogs involved in the racing.

Will Wafer win the races and get a rosette? What are the series of nasty events that threaten to overshadow the days racing? Will the bad guys go unpunished? These questions will be answered, but you’ll need to buy the book to see how.

What did we think?

Clara has a wonderful way of bringing her art into the very fabric of the story. This book is no exception. A simple but highly entertaining plot brings action, inclusion, and a theme that supports right and fitting behaviour for our youngsters. All brought to life in art on or across almost every page. 

So . . . Crunch time.

This is a wonderful sequel. One that we just had to have. Adult books lose out for not generally having artwork, save for somewhat spurious or generic genre covers. For any younger readers, this book will be a real visual treat and well worth buying to encourage/develop their reading skills and sense of adventure.  

A link to our review of the first book can be found HERE.

A link to our review of Clara's 'Marshmallow Pie Cat Superstar' adventure books can be found HERE.

Want to buy a copy?

To get a copy, please race down to your independent bookshop. There are plenty out there and each shop is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, fun and adventure you desire. You can't fail to win with this book!


Clara Vulliamy's web page can be found HERE or type this:

Harper Collins Children's Books web page can be found HERE or type this:


We are joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by the wonderful Kitties Blue and their mum, Janet Blue, from the Cat on My Head blog in America. Click this link to see Janet Blue's selfie page.

Small image. The Cat on My Head Sunday Selfies Blog Hop badge. Features a yellow-haired lady with a tuxedo cat on her head.


I shall leave you with an early April morning selfie. And no, I do not use paw whitener, honest 😉



Till laters!