As a grown-up reader, I’d be hard put to name a story that I doted on as a ‘kid reader’ that wasn’t part of a book series, Trixie Belden being a prime example – I still have 34 surviving copies in my collection!
Ask any Gen Z child what they are currently reading and chances are it is from a collection of books that embody one or two central characters whose stories kids simply cannot get enough of, as well.
Just why are series so popular with readers? Is it the connected storylines, the comforting continuity of style, the evocative evolution of much loved (and despised) characters, a reassuring sense of familiarity or simply the delicious feeling of never-ending expectations that kids (and adults) find so utterly addictive?
In this new ‘series’ of feature posts I’ll endeavour to answer these questions and more as we shed light on a veritable library of new series written just for kids. Some are brave and exciting, admirably rating high amongst the classics of J K Rowling, Mary Norton, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, E. Nesbit, and Beatrix Potter. Others fulfil a more contemporary role, providing eager young readers with easily digestible, fun and furiously paced storylines well suited to wandering attention spans.
We start our serious look at series with such a collection – Pup Patrol.
Here is the Verdict – of a nine-year-old connoisseur.
Who wrote it?
Sally and Darrel Odgers.
Are there any pictures?
Yes, really good line drawings on nearly every second page by Janine Dawson. I like them because they help make the characters more real and I like pictures in my books.
What is Pup Patrol about?
A really cute Border collie pup, a black and white one, called Stamp. (Barnaby Station Stamp of Approval to be precise) and his friend, Ace and all the adventures they have together.
Who are the main characters?
James, Stamp, and Ace. Ace is a cross-bred little dog who can be a bit naughty and nasty sometimes. Stamp is the collie and James is the human. Each story has other different animals and humans in them too.
What did you like most about these stories / books?
That they are about border collies and border collies are my favourite (dog) animal. I love how Stamp is a collie. It is like I can relate to him because I have a collie too. (The release of these books happily coincided with the acquisition of our own Border collie pup, hence the slight obsessive tendency towards canines of this breed.) Plus easy to read short chapters.
Which title in this series is your favourite so far?
Farm Rescue because more collies are involved in the story.
What makes these stories stand out or different from other book series?
They are told from the dog’s point of view. This makes them really interesting and funny.
Who would you recommend this series to?
Anyone (boys and girls) who like adventures in different settings because these stories are exciting. People who like collies should read these books too!
I have to agree. Each Pup Patrol instalment focuses on some exciting aspect and challenge of our Australian landscape and the characters that people it all from a four-legged perspective. I first regarded the end-of-chapter glossaries as a little annoying, feeling they pulled me up and out of the action but on reflection and observation of Miss 9, these proved a sly, fun way of incorporating and clarifying the meanings of new words and terminology without loading the narrative with too much heavy exposition. Crafty and creative.
Early primary-aged readers and fans of animal antics will love this action packed chapter book series including Farm Rescue, Bush Rescue, Storm Rescue, and Outback Rescue – new this month.
For addicts of animals and a penchant for pooches, look no further than these other brilliant series by the Odgers team: Pet Vet and the Jack Russel Dog Detective series.
Scholastic Press March 2015