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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Arthur and the Guard Dog
by Johanne Mercier
Age Range: 6-8
Arthur, the narrator of the story is seven years old and while staying at his grandparent’s house at Picket Lane he finds a great big hairy grey and white dog that looks lost so he and Grandpa take it home with them much to Grandma’s displeasure. Of course, Arthur wants to keep the dog but the question is how to persuade Grandma. Luckily cousin Eugene came up with the perfect solution.
The ‘Arthur’ stories by French Canadian author Johanne Mercier are full of quirky characters and understated humour. Everything is seen through Arthur’s eyes which will appeal directly to young readers. The language is easily accessible to children but contains a degree of irony that will be enjoyed by adults too, and this is due in no small part to an excellent translation by award-winning translator Daniel Hahn. The amusing black and white illustrations by Clare Elsom help to accentuate the wit of the text.
Although each story in the series is separate many of the themes follow on to the next book so it is a good idea to start with book one - Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg. Other titles in the series are: Arthur and the Earthworms, and Arthur and the Yeti.
This series of stories about Arthur are sure to become a firm favourite with any seven-year-old.