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The Dog that Saved the World (Cup)

The Dog that Saved the World (Cup)

Published: 4 Mar 2021

Paperback / softback, 112 pages

Recommended for age 9+

By Phil Earle

Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Published by Barrington Stoke Ltd

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A four-legged hero risks it all to make his best friend's dream come true in this touching adventure of family, football and beating the odds from award-winning author Phil Earle. 

Pickles the dog and his owner Elsie love football more than anything. And they've just heard the most amazing news. The World Cup is coming home to England and Elsie's team have a chance to play in a half-time match at Wembley - with some help from Pickles, of course! But life off the pitch is tough, even when Dad works hard to provide what they need.

It's their team of three against the world and right now it feels like they're losing. So when disaster strikes and Elsie's dreams of playing at Wembley are shattered, it's up to Pickles to save the world (cup).

Tagged dogs and football

Reviewed by Jayne Truran

The Dog That Saved The World (Cup) by Phil Earle is a title in Barrington Stoke’s dyslexia friendly list.

Animal stories are always very popular. Team anials up with football and you are onto a winner (excuse the pun)

This short fun packed story follows the lives of Pickles the dog and his family of Elsie and her Dad. Elsie and Pickles are football mad. The family has fallen on hard times and Dad is trying hard to hold things together and protect Elsie from the truth. Football is the one thing they can still afford to do together. An amazing opportunity to take part in the final of the World Cup at Wembley is won by the Saints team with the help of Pickles. All of this is thwarted by Dad losing his job, having to move house and a serious theft.

Based on two real stories (explained at the end of the book) the themes of the book show real empathy for a situation we are seeing on our news channels daily, poverty, hunger, fear of homelessness and trying to do the best for the family. Add to that the positive effects of sport, in this case, football. There is no self-pitying here, just a genuine situation realistically portrayed through in this case a ‘dogs’ eyes but reflecting a child’s view. The story is both uplifting and fun.

I think to convey such empathy in so few words is something Barrington Stoke and its authors excel at and this title does not disappoint in any way. This book would be an asset to infant/junior schools and as a class novel. It lends itself to group reading for readers needing to develop fluency as the language is straightforward and accessible.

I am a school librarian of many years. Started my career in public libraries but soon found my niche in children's work. Over the years been involved with Federation of Children's Book Groups, Booktrust, Children's Book Award, Joos Kids Book Festival and numerous other 'book related' activities.
Passionate about children reading, children's books and a huge interest in picture books.