This delightful children’s tale addresses an amazing number of serious issues in such a lighthearted manner that one doesn’t get bogged down in depression but rather celebrates the way this amazing family handles their obstacles. This is a giggle out loud book that, although it gets rather fantastical, provides a way of looking differently at the scary world of hospitals, life-threatening allergies, bullying, parental expectations and peer pressure. The compassionate nurse who finds a way to transform needed hospital visits into a punch card to be celebrated because every tenth visit comes with a prize, Benji’s favorite family picture that has everyone looking in a different direction, a competitive and opinionated Newfoundland dog, and even life with a prosthetic are all parts of Benji’s life which is addressed in a frank and unpitying manner. The unconventional approach to life as seen by Benji will appeal to children and adults alike as one discovers that there are ways to compensate for just about everything although I can’t help but sympathize with Benji...I wouldn’t want to wear a giant safety helmet everywhere either! There are fun illustrations that add to the allure of the book and a wry tone that invites the reader into this zany world and I certainly hope there will be more tales by this very talented author.
“Elvis and the Underdogs” is written by Jenny Lee and illustrated by Kelly Light. This is a wonderful children’s story that centers around 10 year-old Benji Wendell Bernsworth, who holds the record at his school for missing the most days because he is frequently sick but can’t convince Billy Thompson (who breaks the records for missing school because he gets suspended so much) to stop bullying him. A series of events related to Benji’s illnesses results in him getting to know Parker Elvis Pembroke IV by mistake. The only trouble is that Benji is the only one who understands what Elvis (as Benji calls him) is saying, but Benji discovers that he can learn a great deal from his new companion and his life will never be the same.
In the tradition of funny and heartwarming bestsellers like Wonder and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, this is the story of a sickly boy whose life is turned upside down when he gets a therapy dog…who can talk!
Benji Wendell Barnsworth is a small ten-year-old boy with a big personality. Born premature, Benji is sickly, accident prone, and at the hospital so often he even has his own punch card. That is, until the day Benji wakes up from a particularly bad spell. Concerned for Benji's health, the doctor offers him two options: wear the world's ugliest padded helmet or get a therapy dog. Benji chooses the dog, of course.
But when a massive crate arrives at Benji's house, out walks a two-hundred-pound Newfoundland. And that isn't even the strangest thing about the dog. He announces that his name is Parker Elvis Pembroke IV. That's right, this dog can talk! And boy, is he bossy.
Having a bossy dog can come in handy, though. Elvis brings out the dog lover in the most surprising people and shows Benji that making new friends may not be as scary as he once thought.