Thank you Galina Dovich for the review copy of RD-1 A REAL DOG, which she sent in light of its Cybils nomination for Easy Readers.
There just aren’t enough folktale or children’s classical story retellings (really surprising given fairytales are more than having their moment), which is why this retelling of THE VELVETEEN RABBIT was such a neat surprise.
When The Boy first receives robot dog RD-1 (“Ardie”) for Christmas he rejects the toy. He wanted a real dog, despite his dad’s (perfectly reasonable and understandable) objections that they don’t have time to care for one.
Sad and rejected, Ardie runs out the cat door and into the city streets to find a loving family. Even though most of the animals he meets (save the lost puppy whose life he saves) treat him as less-than, where he learns that his heart and character are at least on par with those of a real dog.
As a mentor text, Dovich does a great job in taking on a more difficult story to retell and translating it to present-day.
Although Ardie’s treated very poorly, his good heart and pluck shine through. The reader is rooting for but never pitying him.
Victoria Skakandi’s beautiful visually-engaging watercolor illustrations add depth to Ardie, enabling the reader to fall in love with him.
65 pages of sometimes heavy text not broken up into chapters might intimidate a reader just transitioning from picture books.
The Boy is a brat; it stands out that he only accepts Ardie (who doesn’t question the sudden loyalty switch) once the dog “earns” his love by rescuing the living Cat from a group of bullies.
Congrats Galina and Victoria on your nomination!
RD-1 A REAL DOG is available now on Amazon.