Monday, August 19, 2013

Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee

Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee

Balzer + Bray (May 14, 2013) 304 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

This is such a fun story. Benji is 10 years old, and tiny for his age. He's spent a great deal of his life in a hospital, and is prone to regular fainting spells. When he has a seizure, he is given the choice of wearing one UGLY helmet or get a service dog. Since he's already bullied, he finally talks his mother into a dog. Little did he know, he'd get a talking dog.

My oldest son was extremely premature, like Benji, so I automatically warmed to this story. I sympathized with his mom all too well! I liked her! Benji pulled out the “pity” card a few times, and he gets his way, but she does remind him that she’s the mom, and that means she doesn’t *have* to negotiate.

I found myself laughing at unexpected moments throughout the book. Out loud! The author of this book is a writer/producer for the TV show "Shake it Up", which I admit to watching a few times. This book has a fun, cute style, like that show. It’s really a perfect “win” for parents and children. There’s enough corniness and funny parts that I believe most children would love the story, but there’s enough (subtle) life lessons thrown in that I think most parents would be happy to hand it over to their children.

I’m not the biggest fan of books with talking animals in them, but it worked in this case. The first time Elvis started talking, I admit I found it so corny, I didn’t think I’d end up liking the book anymore, but it quickly became hilarious.

Another thing I adored about this book is the diversity! There are characters of different ethnicities throughout the story AND on the cover, and that gets major bonus points from me.

As much as I enjoyed my time in this book, I do have to admit to being surprised at certain parts of the story, especially the ending. Some things weren’t left wrapped up as much as I’d like. I’m really hoping it means this will be a series!

Overall, this is a fun book that's perfect for some end of summer reading! I enjoyed it!

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. I know my son would just love this one. I would find a talking dog corny in a story too but after reading your review I'm convinced this is what makes it funny and unique.

    1. I can almost guarantee you that you'll find it corny when he first starts talking, but it grew on me! :)