Elise and the Second-hand Dog

This is a book full of profound and poignant things wrapped in a charming story about a little girl, a cherished pet, and the trials of life. Elise lives with her father in Copenhagen, and desperately misses her mother who is working as an engineer in Brazil. The purchase of a second-hand dog, McAduddi, who smells of cheese, lights up Elise’s life, especially when she discovers that he can talk. McAduddi is a no-nonsense creature who helps Elise to understand a little bit more of her world, and a lot more about her own emotional life.

Elise’s adventures with her dog, as well as her relationship with her father and her wider family, are all portrayed in a gentle and extremely humorous style which is a true delight. Young readers will find themselves drawn into Elise’s imaginative world, identifying with her deep feelings about difficult things, but also laughing out loud – especially at McAduddi’s one-liners. Bjarne Reuter’s instinct for story and for feeling are outstanding, and combine beautifully with the occasional black and white illustrations by Kirsten Raagaard sprinkled through the text. The accessibility of the prose, the clarity of the dialogue, and the energy of the jokes also pay tribute to the excellent job which Siân Mackie has done in rendering the work into English. This novel will be a source of entertainment, but also a helpful mirror in which children will be able to see their own experiences and emotions more clearly.