by Ben M. Baglio
Published by Scholastic, 1994, 133 pages, Soft cover, Black & white, Price: Rs 2/- per day from Bookworm Library, Kind of book: Animal adventure
Reviewed by Riz Noronha
In the story Mandy Hope and her friend James Hunter visit Bleakfell Hall, in which a movie is being filmed. The star of the show, a black Labrador named Charley runs away! George Sims bit his lip. “The dogs gone,” he said gruffly, looking down at the toes of his boots. “She ran off.” (Pg. 48). Will anyone find her? James’s black Labrador, Blackie, tries to fill in Charley’s place. But he is too disobedient to become a star dog. It is upto Mandy and James to find Charley so that the film shoot can continue.
Mandy and her mother Dr. Emily visit a farm where there has been some sheep injured.
“One of Mr. Janeki’s sheep has been attacked by a dog,” Dr.Emily said with a worried frown. Mandy’s hand flew to her mouth. “You don’t think...” Her mother’s face was serious. “ Yes, I’m afraid so, Mandy. It could well have been Charley!”. (Pg. 54)
The story is set in Animal Ark Veterinary Clinic and in Bleakfell Hall. The title of the story comes from another small story within the main story and it is about Jess – Mandy’s Aunt’s dog that the family is caring for. Puppies appear in the pantry and Charley gets declared the aunty..
The main characters are Mandy and James. Mandy’s parents Dr. Adam and her mum Dr. Emily are also main people in the book. Mandy and James, both 12 years old are friends from school and also help at the Animal Ark clinic. They get along well and help each other, but Mandy is the main character.
‘You can’t resist any animal that crosses your path,” Dr. Adam said. (Pg.3) Mandy can’t wait to grow up and become a vet herself!
It is a very readable book and if you like animals, you will love all the books in the Animal Ark Series. The cover has a cute picture of a dog and puppies. All dog lovers will want to read this book.
The book does not tell us anything about the author, but it has a note on the ASPCA which is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It is in this connection that the story is written which shows how Mandy and James helped an animal working in a movie.
If I could have changed something about the book, I would have increased the tension around Charley. I would have waited until the end of the book to tell the reader what actually happened.