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Flawed Dogs: The Novel

Berkeley Breathed

Praise for Flawed Dogs: The Novel from Publisher's Weekly:
"Bloom County cartoonist Breathed (Pete & Pickles) makes the move from picture books to middle-grade fiction and, from the harrowing opening scene at the dog fight, reader will be rapt. After spending eight years isolated at a boarding school in Minnesota, 14-year-old orphan Heidy McCloud is invited to live with her dejected uncle Hamish, greedy Mrs. Beaglehole and their evil poodle, Cassius, on the vacant McCloud Heavenly Acres dog ranch in Piddleton, VT. "Home of the World's Most Beautiful Dogs." En route, Heidy meets Sam, a Duuglitz dachshund worth $180,000., and a reciprocal, platonic love is born. However, Cassius resents the attention Sam receives and sets a trap resulting in a the Dachshund's imprisonment in a pound with "the seven most ridiculous dogs (Sam) had ever seen," as well as Sam's suffering an awful injury. But the dog's determination to reunite with Heidy doesn't wane. Dramatically lit and featuring comically exaggerated characters (human and canine alike), Berkeley's b&w artwork augments the story's drama and humor. A moving tale about the beauty of imperfections and the capacity for love. Ages 8-12."

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Kirkus review:
"Smooth writing and humorous exaggeration.... The various canine and feline players are an endearing mix of odd attributes and engaging personalities."

Berkeley BreathedAmazon editorial review:
"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 his is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup label 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."

Booklist, Ian Chipman
After forging a brilliant career as a cartoonist, most notably with Bloom County, Breathed applied his well- honed artistic skills to picture books and now takes his first stab at novel writing. His worldview of the lovable loser skewering pomposity is a natural fit for middle-graders, as is the dog-centric nature of this tale. The plot follows Sam the Lion (actually a dachsund), admired by dog-show types for his rare genetic tuft of hair, who is cast out by his adoptive family due to the machinations of a jealous poodle. Over the next few years, any number of terrible/zany adventures befall Sam (including losing a leg and having a soup ladle tied on in its place) before he’s reunited with his owner and justice is done. The story is essentially an animated cartoon in prose form (complete with a mutts-piled-on-top-of-each-other-dressed- as-a-human gag), but Breathed proves an able writer, laying on plenty of over-the-top ebullience that should perk the ears of kids’ inner underdog. A bevy of Breathed’s signature bulbous illustrations—a few in color—add some body to the story.

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