________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 9 . . . . January 5, 2001

cover Aliens in Woodford. (Sam, Dog Detective, 4).

Mary Labatt.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2000.
110 pp., pbk. & cl., $4.95 (pbk.), $16.95.
ISBN 1-55074-607-3 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55074-611-1 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Juvenile fiction.
Alien abduction-Juvenile fiction.
Detective and mystery stories.

Grades 3 - 5 / Ages 8 - 10.

Review by Meredith MacKeen.

*** /4


"Hey, I see those lights again!"

It was the middle of the night and Sam was looking out her favourite upstairs window. From there, she could see past the houses into the countryside around Woodford. Lately she had noticed something different.


Later, Sam crawled up on the spare bed. She turned around and settled herself comfortably. Nestling her chin on her paws, she let her mind wander. Mysterious lights, goblins and witches whirled in her thoughts. Those were the things Sam loved.

Sam snuggled into the pillows and sighed happily."About time we has some excitement in Woodford. It's been so boring lately, I'm half dead."

"Boredom is bad."

Aliens in Woodford is a humourous tale about two girls who follow the promptings of a sheepdog, Sam, to conclude that aliens have arrived in their town. Jennie is able to read the thoughts of the dog who is desperate for excitement and who is, in her own mind, an internationally famous detective dog.

      When the dog notices lights dancing in the field of an abandoned air field, she concludes that aliens have invaded the town. The two girls follow the dog into adventure and trouble as they investigate and then try to save the town. The disappearance of two pets provides proof for their theory about aliens. Sanity is restored when the girls learn that people with headlamps were collecting dew worms as a fund raising activity for the new museum to be located on the air strip.

      Sam's thoughts are amusing as she observes life from the perspective of a smart sheep dog. Like all dogs, she wants recognition and attention, but, most of all, she craves junk food. Her vivid imagination is left undaunted by reality and the threat of obedience school.

      This story is a pleasant read for children looking for adventure and fun. The dog's thoughts will generate a chuckle, and the hint of aliens will keep them reading. This novel is suitable for 8 to 10 year-old children looking for chapter books with large print and about 100 pages. Other books about Sam are available.


Meredith MacKeen is teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart Elementary School in Charlottetown, PEI.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364