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The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."--The New York Times Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best frien The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."--The New York Times Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart. Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed's first illustrated novel is a heartwarming and humorous ode to the unconditional and lasting love we and our pets share.


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The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."--The New York Times Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best frien The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Bloom County and Opus delivers a humorous and heartwarming illustrated novel for kids and dog-lovers of any age!"Breathed, through words and lush illustrations, tells a story that will charm many readers."--The New York Times Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart. Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed's first illustrated novel is a heartwarming and humorous ode to the unconditional and lasting love we and our pets share.

30 review for Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily Northcutt

    Allow me to set a scene for you, review reader. Picture a comfy couch covered in snuggly blankets where a reader is perched with two miniature dachshunds ready to read a book featuring another wiener dog. Picture the reader clutching the two dogs close as she reads the opening scene. Sam (the book's main character) has laid his long, broken, little body on the floor of a dog fighting ring. That, my friends, is how I read this book. I had to hope that Sam was going to make it and we were all goin Allow me to set a scene for you, review reader. Picture a comfy couch covered in snuggly blankets where a reader is perched with two miniature dachshunds ready to read a book featuring another wiener dog. Picture the reader clutching the two dogs close as she reads the opening scene. Sam (the book's main character) has laid his long, broken, little body on the floor of a dog fighting ring. That, my friends, is how I read this book. I had to hope that Sam was going to make it and we were all going to stay on that couch until I found out. Every time something heartbreaking happened to Sam we got upset and every time something hilarious happened we rejoiced. It really is a roller coaster ride filled with Breathed's brand of humor. I grew up with Opus being one of my favorite cartoon characters, so that probably says something about me. This is a book for animal lovers of nearly all ages (grades 5+ to Adult). Upper elementary and middle school readers should be the best fit, but dachshund enthusiasts of all ages will certainly want to read this. Oh, and the artwork is a HUGE bonus. It is alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, as well.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Weibel

    I'm not the kind of mom who troubles herself too deeply about the contents of books or movies. My kids aren't watching the Saw series, but if they enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas or find Futurama funny, so be it. We began reading Flawed Dogs to our five-year-old, and after the first few disturbing chapters I had to read ahead to make sure that this was a book we could finish reading to him. This book broke my heart several times. I knew this was going to be a problem when the book opened in I'm not the kind of mom who troubles herself too deeply about the contents of books or movies. My kids aren't watching the Saw series, but if they enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas or find Futurama funny, so be it. We began reading Flawed Dogs to our five-year-old, and after the first few disturbing chapters I had to read ahead to make sure that this was a book we could finish reading to him. This book broke my heart several times. I knew this was going to be a problem when the book opened in a dog fighting ring. I am, after all, a woman who gave up meat for six months after seeing feathers flying out of a chicken transport truck. This here is one dark story. For the first time in my parenting career I thought pretty hard about restricting access to something my kid enjoys -- I was afraid he is simply too young for it. Then I started thinking about many of the classic kid books, such as James and the Giant Peach, Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, even the Harry Potter series. Dark, dark, dark. Childhood is not the goodship lollipop. So, onwards, MacDuff, and we'll answer the hard questions as they may come. I have loved anything that Berkeley Breathed has cared to put out there. I'm dissappointed in his recent turn towards children's literature, but only because I'm selfish and I want his work to be monolithic; War and Peace epic even. I ached for Sam the Lion. When you are dreading turning a page because you are afraid of what is going to happen next, you are in the midst of reading a good book. Don't get me wrong. This book is also hysterical. I've recently been re-reading some of the Bloom County cartoons, and realized that much of my sense of humor came from my early exposure to Berkely Breathed. His characters are vivid, his voice is unique, his humor unparalleled, and I am an unabashed Breathed devoted fanatic. A book that has you crying and laughing at the same time is a great story, even if its cover does feature a dachshund with a ladle for a leg.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Sam the Lion and his pack of flawed dogs finally get the love they deserve in the end, but it's sad and harrowing road they must travel to get there. Alternatively hysterically funny and brutally sad, this one had me cheering and wiping away happy tears at the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Lewis

    You’ve heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”...well that certainly applies to this book. Why? The cover gives the prospective reader the impression that the “read” will be a delightful romp with man’s best friend, but Flawed Dogs is anything but that. Being a huge animal lover myself, I bought this book hoping to be entertained, and I was not. The first chapter has Sam, the main dog (character) and dachshund, being placed in the ring to fight a pit bull. When he realizes why he has You’ve heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”...well that certainly applies to this book. Why? The cover gives the prospective reader the impression that the “read” will be a delightful romp with man’s best friend, but Flawed Dogs is anything but that. Being a huge animal lover myself, I bought this book hoping to be entertained, and I was not. The first chapter has Sam, the main dog (character) and dachshund, being placed in the ring to fight a pit bull. When he realizes why he has been placed there, he lies down to die and remember his life. From there, the reader is taken on a journey of Sam’s very unhappy experiences in his short life, from being “framed” by an evil poodle for kidnapping a baby, being placed in the Last-Ditch Dog Depository, and living with a down-on-his-luck gentleman the one who puts Sam in the dog fight). The only redeeming factor for this book is Sam and the flawed dogs with which he becomes friends.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Cheetham

    Sam once had it all. He was a perfect purebred with an elusive tuft of hair that entranced show judges. But more importantly, he had the love of his owner, Heidy. But Sam's winning ways and his bond with young Heidy drive Cassius, the pompous poodle of the housekeeper, to plan his demise. Sam lives, but he's now flawed...and even worse, separated from Heidy. He undergoes unspeakable horrors for three years, meeting an interesting band of misfit dogs along the way. With these "underdogs," Sam set Sam once had it all. He was a perfect purebred with an elusive tuft of hair that entranced show judges. But more importantly, he had the love of his owner, Heidy. But Sam's winning ways and his bond with young Heidy drive Cassius, the pompous poodle of the housekeeper, to plan his demise. Sam lives, but he's now flawed...and even worse, separated from Heidy. He undergoes unspeakable horrors for three years, meeting an interesting band of misfit dogs along the way. With these "underdogs," Sam sets out for Westminster to wreck havoc on "the others" (the perfect dogs), and exact revenge on Cassius. I love dogs. And, I chose this book because I love the picture book on which it is based. However, as a dog lover, I found it hard to get through. Throughout the book, Sam is shot, has his leg caught in a beaver trap, is used for medical testing, and is entered into a dog fight. I understand that there should have been some explanation of how he went from perfection to a mess, but for me, it was too much. Yes, the ending makes up for it all, but getting there is painful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was an adorably dark book that made me tear up more than once. A little dachshund with a ladle for a leg is being put in a dog fighting ring. He sees what he's up against and just lays down to die. This is how we start the book! We flashback to how Sam the Lion wiener dog is actually bought and paid for by Mrs. Nutbush for the sole purpose of winning the Westminster Dog Show. Fortunately for Sam, he spies an girl, Heidy, who looks like she should be his human. Heidy is an orphan, going to li This was an adorably dark book that made me tear up more than once. A little dachshund with a ladle for a leg is being put in a dog fighting ring. He sees what he's up against and just lays down to die. This is how we start the book! We flashback to how Sam the Lion wiener dog is actually bought and paid for by Mrs. Nutbush for the sole purpose of winning the Westminster Dog Show. Fortunately for Sam, he spies an girl, Heidy, who looks like she should be his human. Heidy is an orphan, going to live with her uncle. Sam escapes Nutbush and ends up chasing down Heidy, who keeps him. Because, who wouldn't? In Heidy's new home, there is Cassius, a French Poodle who is evil (aren't they all?) and Cassius wants Sam gone so he can have Heidy's love for himself. Cassius actually crafts a plan to be rid of Sam, that results in Sam being shot and left for dead. Sam survives and ends up at the National Last-Ditch Dog Depository with other flawed and misfit dogs. Sam is scarred up, missing a leg, and has been through hell. We come back to the dog fight and Sam's story continues from there. Sam and his misfit friends are adorable, sad, and awesome. The drawings in the book just emphasize the crazy that this book is but they are heartbreaking too. Sam comes out on top, flawed as he is. Perfection is overrated.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mrs.Morgan

    3.5 Stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    William Bentrim

    Flawed Dogs by Berkeley Breathed A fairy tale illustrating that everyone or every dog should have it’s day. That regardless of size, shape or breed overweening ambition can corrupt and unconditional love can console. A perfect dachshund becomes flawed, despondent, abandoned and maligned. He conquers all and returns in triumph. It is a story of acceptance and redemption. You may not recall Opus the penguin or Billy and the Boingers but Berkeley Breathed has been around for quite awhile. I admit to Flawed Dogs by Berkeley Breathed A fairy tale illustrating that everyone or every dog should have it’s day. That regardless of size, shape or breed overweening ambition can corrupt and unconditional love can console. A perfect dachshund becomes flawed, despondent, abandoned and maligned. He conquers all and returns in triumph. It is a story of acceptance and redemption. You may not recall Opus the penguin or Billy and the Boingers but Berkeley Breathed has been around for quite awhile. I admit to being a fan and having reveled in his skewed look at politics, computers and society in general. I lust for a Banana 2009 computer. The illustrations were classic Breathed and added to the flavor of the book. I enjoyed the characterizations and the anthropomorphic nature of the characters. The cover may lure parents into thinking it is for young children. I don’t feel it is appropriate for young kids. It has a dark side that may be more revealing and intense for any kid under 10. I am giving the book to my 11 year old grandson, who I feel is age appropriate for the story. I will make sure that I am available to discuss it as it has things that lead to discussion. Regardless of it being labeled for young readers, I enjoyed it. I am sure my grandson will as well with oversight. I recommend the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacqie

    I really love Bloom County. This book just sat wrong with me for some reason. I heard Berk Breathed speak, and he said that he believes that kids' books should take one into the valley of hard emotions so that one can climb out again. I agree that kids don't need to be coddled or shielded from negative emotions. But this book started off with a dachshund being flung into a fighting dog pit and lying down to die in despair. I've got a soft spot for animals, and I had a hard time with that one. I I really love Bloom County. This book just sat wrong with me for some reason. I heard Berk Breathed speak, and he said that he believes that kids' books should take one into the valley of hard emotions so that one can climb out again. I agree that kids don't need to be coddled or shielded from negative emotions. But this book started off with a dachshund being flung into a fighting dog pit and lying down to die in despair. I've got a soft spot for animals, and I had a hard time with that one. I also don't seem to have much of a funny bone for written humor- visual works better for me- maybe because written humor takes so much set-up and I get bored. So the written humor of this book didn't do it for me as much as Breathed's comics do.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This is the story of Sam, a pedigreed dachshund with a rare Duuglitz tuft. Meant to be a show dog, he soon escapes the clutches of the overbearing Mrs. Nutbush and elects to follow an orphan named Heidy who is going to live with her uncle. But when Sam steals the attention away from the champion standard poodle Cassius, Cassius will get his revenge. What ensues is a wild and wacky adventure as the flawed dogs decide to claim what is rightfully theirs. This book read just like an animated feature This is the story of Sam, a pedigreed dachshund with a rare Duuglitz tuft. Meant to be a show dog, he soon escapes the clutches of the overbearing Mrs. Nutbush and elects to follow an orphan named Heidy who is going to live with her uncle. But when Sam steals the attention away from the champion standard poodle Cassius, Cassius will get his revenge. What ensues is a wild and wacky adventure as the flawed dogs decide to claim what is rightfully theirs. This book read just like an animated feature. It's both funny and tragic. I wasn't sure I would like it, but I ended up not wanting to put it down. I'm still not quite sure which kids I would hand it to, but SLJ says grades 3-6. http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/201...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    So, you won't often see me give 5 stars, especially not to a juvenile novel, but this one deserved it. Berkeley Breathed's "Flawed Dogs: The Novel" was fantastic! Based on his picture book, "Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton Last Chance Dog Pound," the book follows Sam the Lion as he becomes a flawed dog and then learns that heart matters more than those flaws. It's a must read for dog lovers, but will bring a smile to your heart, regardless. "Sam watched his commandos meet th So, you won't often see me give 5 stars, especially not to a juvenile novel, but this one deserved it. Berkeley Breathed's "Flawed Dogs: The Novel" was fantastic! Based on his picture book, "Flawed Dogs: The Year-End Leftovers at the Piddleton Last Chance Dog Pound," the book follows Sam the Lion as he becomes a flawed dog and then learns that heart matters more than those flaws. It's a must read for dog lovers, but will bring a smile to your heart, regardless. "Sam watched his commandos meet their human visitors - just as varied and imperfect and splendidly flawed as the dogs were - and he knew that here, love would have a better chance to find its way, as it usually does with dogs."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori Posten

    I have to say I was really surprised and a little disappointed when I read other reviews on this book. The part about the dog arena was brought up more than once. I thought that this part was very important to the story as it showed how this little dog learned strength and confidence. It was written well without going over the top. I did not find it offensive at all. Having said that , I must add that this little dog really won my heart. The love and heartache was so real. The struggle to unders I have to say I was really surprised and a little disappointed when I read other reviews on this book. The part about the dog arena was brought up more than once. I thought that this part was very important to the story as it showed how this little dog learned strength and confidence. It was written well without going over the top. I did not find it offensive at all. Having said that , I must add that this little dog really won my heart. The love and heartache was so real. The struggle to understand and the strive to be obedient and devoted regardless of the cost. I loved this dog and his devotion to a child who held his heart in her hands.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Myleigh

    It was a great book with ups and downs. It had a good storyboard and is a heartwarming story of friendship and love. Although you sometimes get lost, it was a great book everyone should read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I've really enjoyed Breathed's comics, and this book, recommended by a young friend whom I love, turned out to be very engaging. My favorite character was the dog Tusk.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lexie

    I read Flawed Dogs a couple years ago. I bought it, in fact, at a book fair because everyone was saying how amazing it looked. But, in fact, I hated it. SUMMARY A group of dogs with flaws (hence the title) set out to show the world that they're better than pedigreed dogs. COVER Okay, the cover is what gives it its one star. It's the best thing about this book. And I'm not even a huge fan of it. PLOT The plot was a bit dull, and I remember that I put down the book to even go do my HOMEWORK. CHARACT I read Flawed Dogs a couple years ago. I bought it, in fact, at a book fair because everyone was saying how amazing it looked. But, in fact, I hated it. SUMMARY A group of dogs with flaws (hence the title) set out to show the world that they're better than pedigreed dogs. COVER Okay, the cover is what gives it its one star. It's the best thing about this book. And I'm not even a huge fan of it. PLOT The plot was a bit dull, and I remember that I put down the book to even go do my HOMEWORK. CHARACTERS I know the characters are supposed to be loveable and flawed, but I just found them annoying. You don't have to be perfect, but you shouldn't whine about what your flaws are. ENDING I wasn't a huge fan. It just wasn't climatic enough. OTHER I don't mean any offense to the author, I just wanted my opinion out there. I know that reading bad reviews is hard, but it's just a fact in a writer's career. I hate writing bad reviews, I really do, and I'm sorry for it. But it's sort of my "job" as a Goodreads member. FAVORITE PART Um... Finishing it? The time before I started it? LEAST FAVORITE PART The whole thing! =D

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    There is a lot to like about this book. Sam the lion, a daschund, is particularly funny and the other flawed dogs had great personalities. What kept me from rating this book higher was the amount of cruelty that is shown rather than told. It was a little disturbing. When Sam is taken from his person, Heidy, he decides to get revenge against the Westminster dog that framed him. He has allies, a set of unwanted dogs waiting in vain for adoption. Sam may be small but he's creative and doesn't let a There is a lot to like about this book. Sam the lion, a daschund, is particularly funny and the other flawed dogs had great personalities. What kept me from rating this book higher was the amount of cruelty that is shown rather than told. It was a little disturbing. When Sam is taken from his person, Heidy, he decides to get revenge against the Westminster dog that framed him. He has allies, a set of unwanted dogs waiting in vain for adoption. Sam may be small but he's creative and doesn't let anything slow him down.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    I would like to give this book a little higher rating but I found the content pretty deep and a little depressing for the age rang this book is aimed at. The life of this dog is plagued with all kinds of heartbreak including being in a dog fighting ring, spending time in an animal testing facility, and bieng in a dog pound for dogs which will never be adopted because of their flaws. With that said, the book does pick up at the end and is quite enjoyable. The reading would depending on the reader I would like to give this book a little higher rating but I found the content pretty deep and a little depressing for the age rang this book is aimed at. The life of this dog is plagued with all kinds of heartbreak including being in a dog fighting ring, spending time in an animal testing facility, and bieng in a dog pound for dogs which will never be adopted because of their flaws. With that said, the book does pick up at the end and is quite enjoyable. The reading would depending on the readers maturity level and how they are affected by the content.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved this book! I was so worried that Sam had actually died when he feel of the thingy with Cassius. I was very happy with all the details that the author gave and I also loved how she titled the chapters (If you like authors that do that you should check out When You Reach Me). My favorite part was when all sam did was jump and lay down when the pit bull tried to kill him. My ALL TIME favorite part was when the pit bull actually helped Sam out on the rook and also when sam and his new 'frien I loved this book! I was so worried that Sam had actually died when he feel of the thingy with Cassius. I was very happy with all the details that the author gave and I also loved how she titled the chapters (If you like authors that do that you should check out When You Reach Me). My favorite part was when all sam did was jump and lay down when the pit bull tried to kill him. My ALL TIME favorite part was when the pit bull actually helped Sam out on the rook and also when sam and his new 'friend' slid down the wire on his laddle (used as a leg).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Yoo

    I would rate this book at about 4 stars. It is very sad because the owner's beloved dog goes through all this pain. I have empathy for

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    5 stars for the illustrations but only 3 for the very sad story. Though Sam and friends get their love in the end, it is truly a heartbreaking and brutal journey.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Originally published in 2009. I am a big fan of Berkeley Breathed and have been for 35+ years. I have multiple volumes of his Bloom County books, I enjoyed his movie Mars Needs Moms so much that I went out and bought it after I had rented it. I love his children's book Pete and Pickles . This book, however, is a rare misfire. To begin with, the book assumes that you read an earlier childrens book called Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound . This bo Originally published in 2009. I am a big fan of Berkeley Breathed and have been for 35+ years. I have multiple volumes of his Bloom County books, I enjoyed his movie Mars Needs Moms so much that I went out and bought it after I had rented it. I love his children's book Pete and Pickles . This book, however, is a rare misfire. To begin with, the book assumes that you read an earlier childrens book called Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound . This book is like a catalog of dogs that no one will adopt because of their flaws. The dogs from the first book are thrown into the Flawed Dogs: The Novel with little or no introduction - just a pack of dogs with names and skills and oddities that the reader had better remember. No character development, no real chance to get to know any of them. There was a whole dog that I had no idea was even in the book until he was shown in an illustration. The main character of the book is a dachshund named Sam. Sam loves his human, a girl named Heidy who doesn't like dogs because her parents were killed by dogs in some sort of horrible accident that the book was never quite clear about. Sam is slated to participate in the Westminster dog show, but another dog is so jealous that he mutilates himself and sets Sam up so that it looks like he attacked a human baby. Heidy's uncle shoots Sam. But, Sam doesn't die. Instead, he ends up at the "Last Chance" Pound. That is the first half of the book. Spoiler alert************ The second half of the book is very rushed and features Sam getting ... Read more at: https://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/2019...

  22. 4 out of 5

    PookyGurl

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First things first, grab your dog (gently now) and place on your lap. I’m hoping it’s a rescued dog because really that’s the only way to go. It’s really better for you to keep your dog, or cat, or ferret or guinea pig, really anything soft & fuzzy will do on your lap for the entirety of this book. Don’t worry about having to get up to eat or hit the loo or anything as this is such a captivating read you’ll want to devour it in one fell swoop. Now let me repeat, read this book with your dog (or First things first, grab your dog (gently now) and place on your lap. I’m hoping it’s a rescued dog because really that’s the only way to go. It’s really better for you to keep your dog, or cat, or ferret or guinea pig, really anything soft & fuzzy will do on your lap for the entirety of this book. Don’t worry about having to get up to eat or hit the loo or anything as this is such a captivating read you’ll want to devour it in one fell swoop. Now let me repeat, read this book with your dog (or any of the above animals mentioned) on your lap and a box of Kleenex within reach. You might not necessarily cry but better to be prepared right? Our very very brave Sam the Lion goes through more than any dog, much less any living thing should ever have to go through just to reach a happy ending. He experiences the very worst of human nature, with the very occasional but unfortunately short-lived bright spot, to FINALLY reach his ultimate epiphany and reach his happily ever after. I loved this book so much even though it depressed the hell outta me. Too many of the terrible, horrible, really horrendous things that happened to Sam and his friends are for real things that are happening to dogs & cats & primates & rabbits right now even as I type these words. It breaks my heart and it will break yours too. Hopefully this book will be a gateway to a broader understanding of the indescribable cruelty of puppy mills, kill shelters, purebred breeding, dogfighting and who knows what other horrors you don’t even know about. Berkeley Breathed has the most remarkable talent in educating you while simultaneously entertaining & engaging you. OPUS LIVES and happily so does Sam the Lion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maicey

    This book was WAY more sad than I expected it to be. It was a phenomenal read; I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting. But it really broke my heart to see all the trials poor Sam the Lion had to go through. My own dog is a rescue, which I think made the story even more heart-wrenching to me. He sat by my side the whole time I was reading, and in my head I could imagine him going through the things Sam did in the story, and it about near broke me. I had to keep reminding h This book was WAY more sad than I expected it to be. It was a phenomenal read; I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting. But it really broke my heart to see all the trials poor Sam the Lion had to go through. My own dog is a rescue, which I think made the story even more heart-wrenching to me. He sat by my side the whole time I was reading, and in my head I could imagine him going through the things Sam did in the story, and it about near broke me. I had to keep reminding him how much I loved him while I read, just in case he didn't know. Berkeley Breathed is a fantastic writer and illustrator. I've loved his stuff ever since I discovered "The Red Ranger Came Calling" (in sixth grade I think it was?). His style is so original and I always love finding new things from him. While this book was definitely tragic, it had plenty of hilarious and downright bizarre moments. I'll be revisiting this one soon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Lee-Tammeus

    As a huge fan of Berkeley Breathed, I bought this for my son many moons ago. We are now packing away his childhood and I just can't bear to give this away - it is too beautifully illustrated and I hope one day he can share it with his own kids. While the story is a bit sad and may be difficult for very young kids to enjoy, middle schoolers with an understanding of sarcasm who love to draw will simply love it. It is a very sad story of a dachshund who falls in love with a girl but is torn away fr As a huge fan of Berkeley Breathed, I bought this for my son many moons ago. We are now packing away his childhood and I just can't bear to give this away - it is too beautifully illustrated and I hope one day he can share it with his own kids. While the story is a bit sad and may be difficult for very young kids to enjoy, middle schoolers with an understanding of sarcasm who love to draw will simply love it. It is a very sad story of a dachshund who falls in love with a girl but is torn away from her and then left for dead. He loses a leg, becomes a lab dog who is tortured, becomes a fighter, all while trying to reach back to his girl. A bit dark to be sure. Does he get back to her? You have to read it to find out!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tobias

    I read the book as a kid(3rd-5th grade) and remembered really enjoying it, despite knowing the book was a bit dark I was never really put off by it. I had a hard time keeping an attention span to read books as a younger kid, and to even retain information from books I had to have them read to me, this book was really a turning point and is what kind of kick started my joy of actually reading on my own, I remember sitting down every morning and reading this as I ate breakfast and couldn't wait to I read the book as a kid(3rd-5th grade) and remembered really enjoying it, despite knowing the book was a bit dark I was never really put off by it. I had a hard time keeping an attention span to read books as a younger kid, and to even retain information from books I had to have them read to me, this book was really a turning point and is what kind of kick started my joy of actually reading on my own, I remember sitting down every morning and reading this as I ate breakfast and couldn't wait to be able to read more. This may be a bit biased since this book is such a nostalgic thing for me, but I remember it being an actually enjoyable book. I'm hoping to be able to find where I placed my copy and read it again, then I will write a more up to date, less biased review <33

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sassafras Lowrey

    I had really high hopes for this book because I LOVE the picture book that it's based on. My first critique was that the author really doesn't seem to undersatnd dog shows - i know it sounds petty but I found that irritating. there were some things i felt like were intentionally funny / mixed up with breeds etc but the overall function/structure of dog shows wasn't remotely accurate - yet used actual dog show names (Westminster) also text confusion between pitbulls and bull terriers My primary c I had really high hopes for this book because I LOVE the picture book that it's based on. My first critique was that the author really doesn't seem to undersatnd dog shows - i know it sounds petty but I found that irritating. there were some things i felt like were intentionally funny / mixed up with breeds etc but the overall function/structure of dog shows wasn't remotely accurate - yet used actual dog show names (Westminster) also text confusion between pitbulls and bull terriers My primary critique was omfg there was so much violence / so many bad things happened - i had not expected this from a middle reader book! 1) killer dog 2) villain dog (who boringly was the show dog) #spoiler 3) a dog getting shot, 4) dog left for dead 5) dog abandoned to the streets 6) dog fighting ring

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darin Johnston

    If you like any of Berkeley Breathed's other work with Opus and Bloom County, you'll love this book. It's a story of a dog named Sam, who starts out on the fast track to win at the dog show. However, Sam is framed for a crime he didn't commit by Cassius, a poodle who wants the "best in show" title. Sam is forced to go on the run and finds himself in a number of hilarious, but seemingly disastrous situations, which show the true character of Sam. The story builds towards Westminster Dog Show and a If you like any of Berkeley Breathed's other work with Opus and Bloom County, you'll love this book. It's a story of a dog named Sam, who starts out on the fast track to win at the dog show. However, Sam is framed for a crime he didn't commit by Cassius, a poodle who wants the "best in show" title. Sam is forced to go on the run and finds himself in a number of hilarious, but seemingly disastrous situations, which show the true character of Sam. The story builds towards Westminster Dog Show and a showdown between Sam and Cassius. 5 stars for a story worth of Berkeley Breathed, his incredible sense of humor, and writing style.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marfita

    I had to stop reading this. This is a dark, dark story. Breathed's oeuvre has tended to the dark ever since that accident. It starts with a dog fight, and it goes downhill. Oh, it has a happy ending (I skimmed through to make sure), but it would be a tear-jerker. Sam's nemesis is a evil poodle (and his owner) named Cassius. Cassius frames Sam for harming a human and he ends up shot, scheduled for a lethal injection and/or scientific testing ... ermagerd! Kids who like the Lemony Snicket stuff mi I had to stop reading this. This is a dark, dark story. Breathed's oeuvre has tended to the dark ever since that accident. It starts with a dog fight, and it goes downhill. Oh, it has a happy ending (I skimmed through to make sure), but it would be a tear-jerker. Sam's nemesis is a evil poodle (and his owner) named Cassius. Cassius frames Sam for harming a human and he ends up shot, scheduled for a lethal injection and/or scientific testing ... ermagerd! Kids who like the Lemony Snicket stuff might like this as well. I managed to read two of those before I gave up. I need more happiness in my life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is a book about a dog who gets separated from his owner. In the years that follow, there are many things that happen to this forlorn dog, not all of them pleasant. The book is heart-wrenching, sad, hopeful, and beautifully written. Plus, the periodic illustrations capture the essense and feelings of the story. Breathed is amazing. I was going to give it 5 stars. However, I took one away because of the inherent sadness to the story in the middle. But trust me...it's definitely worth reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle M

    Mr. Breathed is an excellent cartoonist. Unfortunately, I don't think he tones down his cartoonist side enough when he writes novels. He packs a huge punch into elaborate sentences. With the novel's lack of depth, these wordy, showy sentences seem out of place. My intellect was tense with anticipation while adjectives continually held excitement captive. Even if the writing style didn't rub me the wrong way, the characters and the storyline were also huge punches. It's an agonizing book overall.

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