The Pup's Tale, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

One sunny Thursday morning, I was doing rounds with Dr Jeanie. I was surprised when she drove the Pet Vet van to Jeandabah instead of straight to a farm.
I say up tall so I could see through the van window. We’d stopped in an ordinary street. Maybe someone had a pony or a house cow behind a house? I sniffed at the gap in the window.
Dr Jeanie looked at her notes.
‘Number seven,’ she said. ‘This is the place.’ She got out of the van with her bag, and hesitated. ‘I don’t know if you should come, Trump.’
I whined to let Dr Jeanie know I certainly should come. I am her A.L.O. and I can’t do my job if I stay in the van. Besides, I was lonely.

Trump is an A.L.O.: an Animal Liaison Officer, and he helps Dr Jeanie in her veterinary work. Together they are an unbeatable team in the Pet Vet series. The Pup’s Tale is Book 6. In this adventure, a Labrador Retriever has delivered a very large litter of puppies. 15! And that’s one too many even for devoted mother, Pipwen. A little chocolate-coloured puppy is at risk of abandonment. Trump and Dr Jeanie to the rescue! Black and white illustrations are scattered throughout and potentially challenging words or concepts are in bold text with an explanatory information box nearby.

The Pup’s Tale is an engaging story for children new to independent reading. The print is largish, with interspersed illustrations and short chapters. There’s an adventure, with drama and solution, but there’s also factual information about how a vet practice works and about different animals. Readers can learn about different breeds of dog and some of the work involved in having pets or show animals. The main characters are introduced at the beginning, with a personal introduction from the narrator, Trump. The animals can communicate with each other, but stay in ‘character’ of their breed. Recommended for newly independent readers and anyone wanting to know a bit more about whelping, dog breeds and their behaviour.

The Pup's Tale (Pet Vet)

The Pup’s Tale (Pet Vet), Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic Press 2011
ISBN: 9781741697254

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond

The Kitten's Tale, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

The kitten squalled crossly and clawed at the bars of the cage.
‘That’s not a prison,’ I said. ‘It’s a cage, with a bed and food and water.’ I turned to the kitten. ‘It’s all right,’ I sad. ‘You’re safe. Just make yourself comfortable and Dr Jeanie will—” I broke off. I had started the speech I made to our patients when they’re nervous, but this kitten wasn’t our patient.

A strange kitten has appeared at the vet surgery, and Trump isn’t sure what to think. The kitten doesn’t have a home, but has been brought here by Trump’s friend, Major Higgins. While the kitten is looked after by vet Jeanie, other strange things happen. Someone is stealing Trump’s kibble, and another, vicious cat is on the loose in the area.

The Kitten’s Tale is the fifth instalment in the Pet Vet series, an outstanding series of books for middle primary aged readers. Told from the viewpoint of Trump, the young Jack Russell dog who lives with vet Dr Jeanie the story is part mystery, part educational and wholly fun. Supported by text boxes, black and white line illustrations and front of book character introductions , The Kitten’s Tale can be read without knowledge of the earlier titles.

Pet Vet: #5 Kitten's Tale

The Kitten’s Tale, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2010
ISBN 9781741697247

This title can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Python Problem, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

The snake hissed, hunching and sliding. Now I was looking straight at it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it immediately. I bounced back out of range. ‘It’s the escaped python everyone’s been looking for,’ I told Peter Wu. ‘Why didn’t you warn me it was in here?’

When a Python escapes from its tank, the whole neighbourhood is concerned, and Trump must help Dr Jeannie reassure the patients. But on a wet day, Trump finds more than she bargains for when he responds to a distress call from a trapped Siamese cat. She needs to rescue both the cat and the snake.

The Python Problem is the fourth title in the wonderful Pet vet series, featuring Trump, the daughter of Jack Russell, dog detective, from the series of the same name. There are plenty of dog and cat characters in the series, but also the more unusual animal characters such as Diamond, the python. As well as a high-interest story, The Python Problem has elements designed to both appeal to young readers and to enhance their reading – including black and white line illustrations (by Janine Dawson) , definitions of difficult words, and comments on pet care from Trump.

Another great offering in a wonderful series.

The Python Problem (Pet Vet)

The Python Problem (Pet Vet), by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond . Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Blue Stealer, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Sarge is a clever person.
Even clever people sometimes get hold of the wrong end of the stick.
This is a fact.

Jack Russell, dog detective is back on the case. Someone is stealing special things from the humans of Doggeroo. But what is worse – much worse – is that the favourite things of Doggeroo’s dogs are also going missing. Foxie’s boot, Shuffle’s pug cloth, even the Squekes’ plastic chop, have all gone missing. Jack needs to help his friends get their things back – and, if he does, perhaps he can help Sarge solve the mystery.

The Blue Stealer is the tenth title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a series which doesn’t become stale. Authors Darrel and Sally Odgers manage to come up with new twists and new characters each time, as well as the familiar first person (first dogson?) narrative of Jack, the Jack Russell terrier who never lets a mystery rest.

Good stuff, sure to entertain young readers.

The Blue Stealer (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.)

The Blue Stealer, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

Motorbike Bob, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

I pricked up my ears and listened. The yelp came again, and I could tell it was coming from partway down the gully. I trotted back up the road and sniffed the air. I could still smell hot trees and a trace of smoke, but I could also smell another dog…It was Motorbike Bob, the border collie.

When trump meets Motorbike Bob, a border collie who travels around on the back of his owner’s motorbike, Bob tells Trump that he’ll never need the help of Trump or Vet Jeanie. But it isn’t long before Trump hears a cry for help and finds Bob in need of attention.

Motorbike Bob is the third title in the wonderful Pet Vet series featuring Trump, the Jack Russell Animal Liaison Officer (ALO) and her person, vet Jeannie. As always, Trump’s role is to work with and settle the patient so that Jeannie can help him – but in this instance Trump also turns rescuer, when Bob is injured and lost.

This series is a wonderful offering for young animal lovers, and each title stands alone, being preface by material which introduces the main characters of the book. With illustrations by Janine Dawson and different text elements including maps, definitions and pet care tips, this is another excellent book from the creators of the Jack Russell Dog Detective series.

Motorbike Bob, by Darrell & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

The Mare's Tale, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

It was a noisy night at Cowfork House. The rain poured and the wind blew. Every so often, a small branch would crack and I’d hear the rustle and crunch as it hit the ground. It was so noisy that I didn’t hear the midnight train go through from Doggeroo Station.

When rough weather hits, Dr Max finds that his arthritis really bothers him. Trump feels sorry for Dr Max, but as she helps Dr Jeanie do her rounds she realises that it’s not just humans who can be affected by arthritis, when she meets an aging dalmatian. Also having trouble in the stormy weather is Helen, a pregnant mare expecting her first foal. Can Trump and Dr Jeanie help Helen and Paris (the Dalmatian) through their ordeals?

The Mare’s Tale is the second in the Pet Vet series from Darrel & Sally Odgers, who are also the creators of the ,I>Jack Russell: Dog Detective series. Trump is a likeable first person (fist canine?) narrator, who takes her new job as an Animal Liaison Officer at the Pet vet Clinic very seriously, even when she’d rather stay in bed out of the storm, or chase the rats she can hear in the stable. Her animal friends each have their own foibles and oddities which make for an appealing cast of characters.

As well as being entertaining, the series is informative, with Trump offering explanations of animal and veterinary terms, and hints for animal care.

The Mare's Tale (Pet Vet)

The Mare’s Tale, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Scholastic, 2008

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Cranky Paws, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

‘Hello, Thomasina,’ I said. ‘I know you feel really bad just now. You’re scared, and you hurt, but you will feel better very soon. Dr Jeanie has just-’
That was as far as I got, because Thomasina stopped looking dazy and hazy, and tried to leap away.

When Davie brings an injured cat to Dr Jeanie’s vet clinic, he says its name is Thomasina – but Jeanie and Trump decide the cat’s name should be Cranky Paws. Cranky Paws spits and scratches whoever comes near – Trump, Dr Jeanie, even Major Higgins, the visiting cat. It seems no one can calm her down – but Trump has a plan.

Cranky Paws is the first book in the new Pet Vet series. Set in Dr Jeanie’s vet clinic, and told through the eyes (and voice) of Trump, a Jack Russell puppy, who is also an Animal Liaison Officer (ALO). Trump may be familiar to some readers, being the offspring of Jack Russell, Dog Detective, from the series of the same name.

With lots of interesting animal characters, different textual elements including word definitions, maps and diagnosis notes, there is plenty to draw young readers in.

Suitable for readers aged six and up, and ideal for those making the transition to chapter books and independent reading.

Cranky Paws, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2008