This should have been a very cute, funny, and possibly interesting book. Plus, it's epistolary, which is a favorite genre of mine.
Unfortunately, it is not any of those things, except for epistolary.
I am deeply relieved that I changed my mind at the last minute and didn't purchase it for the library. Phew!
Surface plot: intrepid grandfather sets out with his quirky dog, Roo, on various adventures. He chronicles these adventures by writing letters to his grandchild. Sounds good, no?
The plot would better have been summarized thus: Slightly batty old man sets out with complaining/boastful small dog on insane adventures. Problems immediately arise. Problems increase. Things get worse. Grandfather does not think he will make it, and writes grim letters home to grandchild, hoping someone will find and mail the letters after his death. (he addresses his grandchild as "Child" btw). Miraculously, fantastic events save the day, usually involving talking animals.
There are several possible solutions:
A. He ended up in a mental hospital after the first adventure and is now imagining things.
B. He was in a mental hospital to start with.
C. In this particular book, he drank some bad water and that's why all the animals can talk and he's suddenly got a sheep fixing his golf cart.
In any case, the melancholic air that pervades these books is not, to put it mildly, what I would recommend for any but the most cheerful reader. And if you're a cheerful reader, why would you want to read this?
Verdict: Many people seem to like these books, but I simply cannot get past the gentle spiral into despair that I travel when I read these. The vocabulary and sentence structure seems a little too advanced for the audience as well. Not recommended.
ISBN: 978-1561454358; Published April 2008 by Peachtree; Borrowed from the library