by Jenny Lee
Reviewed by The Junior Book Dealer (Elena Elizabeth Hynes)
“I keep thinking of what would make the coolest opening to my note. Dear Taisy? Nah, too boring. Dearest Taisy. No way, too girly, and it sounded like those black and white movies my mom sometimes watches. Yo, Taisy? That sounded cooler, but it didn’t sound like me at all. Yo, Yo, Taisy? No, that sounded like I was calling her a Yo-yo and what if she asked if I could Yo-yo and then I had to admit that I was not a good Yo-yoer at all.” (p. 161).
Elvis and The Underdogs is a book that would be enjoyed by kids who like humor. Like the books by Lisa Graff, this book has very “real” characters even though it is fiction. Benji, the main character, is a ten year old that was born sickly to make him faint a lot. When an ordinary day turns into a disaster, he needed to make a huge decision to get the world’s ugliest green, padded helmet, or a service dog. The service dog came into the house. It was the biggest and strangest dog, but that wasn’t the odd part. The dog said. “ Hello, I’m Elvis Pembroke I ,and you do not look like The President. Yes, I’m supposed to be The President’s dog.”
From there, the story just gets even wilder. Benji has to deal with the protagonist, Billy Thompson. Elvis teaches Benji that in order to deal with his trouble, he needs friends or a “pack.” Elvis helps him meet other people, including Taisy. In the end, Elvis even learns that Billy might be so bad.
Suggestions for Possible Concepts: Friendship, Animals, Humor, Family, and Good-byes