Book Review: One Brave Dog

One Brave Dog: Journey Beyond the Forbidden River

Goodreads Description

CAN ONE BRAVE DOG DEFEAT A VICIOUS GANG? That’s what PD’s Grandpa Angelo tells him after PD is attacked by Diablo and his pack of wild dogs. But when Angelo, a retired War Hero, attempts to organize Summerland’s dogs and stop Diablo from terrorizing their hometown, Angelo goes missing. Will PD, who’s just a puppy dog, learn how to be brave and conquer his fears in time to find his missing Grandpa? 

Follow the adventures of PD as he journeys beyond the Forbidden River to Diablo’s abandoned junkyard hideout. If a Witchy Woman, a trickster coyote, a scary gator, a pouncing panther, and a three-headed fire-breathing monster can’t stop PD and his newfound friends, can Diablo and his brutal gang prevent them from rescuing Angelo and saving Summerland?


I’m a sucker for both kids’ books and dog books. Combined in one? Yes, please.

First things first, I want to apologize to the author, because by the time I started reading this book, I’d forgotten it was a kid’s book. I read the first chapter and was all indignant about how poorly it was written. So, Mr. Guarino, I apologize for my….judginess?

The story is fairly predictable, and I won’t go into the details in case you want to read it. It’s got a lot of recognizable themes – good versus evil, of course (in case you didn’t pick that up by the Angelo vs. Diablo bit), but also about friendship, courage, and acceptance. There’s a slight religious undertone, but it’s masked fairly well. To be honest, I probably would have missed it if the author hadn’t given Diablo two small horns on his head. Normally, masked religious doctrine would drive me nuts, but since it’s mostly presented in the guise of teaching PD to be a good dog (and children to be good kids), I’ll let it slide.

In fact, my biggest complaint with the book is the illustrations – they’re pretty bad. They made the whole book feel cheap. I know, I know. It’s a kid’s book, it’s supposed to be cartooney…but there are better cartoons out there. It kinda reminds me of a coloring book. (Actually, maybe that’s a better idea – turn the illustrations into coloring pages. Hard to do on a Kindle, but it’d work in the print version.)

Once I realized this was a kid’s book, I enjoyed it a whole lot more. I’m not sure the exact age this is intended for, but if I had to guess, I’d go with primary grade – just based on the sentence construction, vocabulary, and general lack of detail. This isn’t a bad thing at all. I imagine this is one of those books that beginning readers – or even pre-school children being read to by their parents – will find the story quite easy and enjoyable.

You can purchase One Brave Dog on Amazon for $4.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.