Elise and the Second-hand Dog


Elise’s mother has been in Brazil bridge building for months. Her father’s music playing grows more sombre, while Elise has taken to tearing up the letters she writes to her mother. All would be better with a dog, she reassures her father. When they visit Potifar’s second hand market, they assume care of a second hand dog, ugly, distorted and smelling of cheese. Yet, Elise loves him.

The second-hand dog takes the lead in the relationship, from their conversation, to food and sleeping arrangements, and their destinations. He reminisces about his youth in Tobermory, while helping her raise money, survive Halloween, or choose a Christmas present for her father.

Elise and the Second-hand Dog‘, a Danish translation, is a gorgeous book. It made me laugh and cry. Empathy and realism are in abundance, despite the presence of a talking dog (with a Scottish accent). Elise’s relationships with her parents, aunt, grandparents and neighbourhood are recognisable. I have longed for a book similar to Bicycling to the Moon, a Gecko Press, Finnish translation for slightly younger readers. This hits the mark in every way.

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Elise and the Second-hand Dog

Bjarne Reuter, illustrated by Kirsten Raagaard, translated from Danish, by Sian Mackie

(Wacky Bee Books)

Elise begs her father for a second hand dog. She will ‘walk it and train it so it doesn’t chew the table or eat slippers’. Elise doesn’t plan on it being a talking dog that smells of cheese. This dog tells tales of Tobermory and helps her make Christmas presents. ‘Elise and the Second-hand Dog‘ is an exceptionally empathetic, imaginative and fabulous book. It makes this Bookwagon reader laugh and cry.

Honour title:- In Other Words’ project


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