“Awesome Dog 5000,” by Justin Dean with its rocket-launcher paws and a mega-atomic cannon will send you soaring to new heights. As soon as readers open the book and start reading, the cliffhangers get you hooked and it is hard to resist reading until the last page. This geeky, action, and humor-packed book is sure to please readers unless, of course, they get scared by the “book warnings” the author provides warning readers about what is to come. They usually occur before you get to the geeky/action/humor parts. So, if you think you can resist all of the imagination Dean puts into this book, why don’t you read the first ten pages and see if this clever, action-filled book doesn’t hook you immediately!
In this story, Marty had to move from his old town. Now he is stuck in this new place, where he has no friends, and more importantly, he possibly could be called the dreaded “d” word–dork. Marty and his mom are living in a house where they think a toothbrush inventor lived. Marty is nervous about school, so he makes a simple list of things NOT to do, to make sure he doesn’t make a fool of himself:
- Do NOT do anything weird
- Do NOT do anything embarrassing
- Do NOT do anything uncool!!!
With these three simple rules, his fifth grade experience at Nikola Tesla Elementary could be okay.
However, on the first day of school, Marty does something weird, something embarrassing, and something uncool. He even gets called a dork. After all that, luckily, someone named Ralph invites Marty to be in a school club, which turns out to be just an uncool cafeteria table. But Marty doesn’t care. His new best friends are Ralph and Skyler, two other misfits. One day, the three of them go to Marty’s house to play their favorite video game, Sheriff Turbo-Karate. While playing the game amongst all of the moving boxes, they end up knocking over a strange box labeled A.D.5.K. They open up the box, and inside is a robot-dog.
When the robot dog asks the friends if they want to go for a walk, Marty grabs on to the leash, expecting the dog to walk with him. Instead, the dog fires up its rocket paws and shoots off flying 300 miles per hour, with Marty holding on for dear life. They crash into a mansion later on the flight, and start flying around inside the mansion. Eventually, Marty tells the dog to fly back home. What Marty did not know was that the mansion they crashed into was owned by a rich supervillain who would stop at nothing to get revenge on the robot-dog and Marty. Will his new friends Skyler and Ralph be able to help Marty stop the supervillain?
“Awesome Dog 5000,” is great for third and fourth graders and would also be good as a second grade read-aloud. It is also a fabulous quick-read for fifth grade. With its great illustrations it can be enjoyed by a variety of readers from fantasy fans to sci-fi lovers. If you like an exciting adventure with a twist, this is the book for you.
As this is his first book, Dean leaves readers hungry for more. Every page is none-stop laughter and suspense. Readers will learn that being cool or popular does not matter. It is friendship that really matters.
Reviewed by Jamie L.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Random House Books for Young Readers, the publisher, for review purposes.