Rutherford, Canine Comic

John Madormo
Zumaya Thresholds (2020)
ISBN: 9781612713533
Reviewed by Maddie (age 13) for Reader Views Kids (1/2021)

“Rutherford, Canine Comic” is a funny story about a dog who only dreams of being a watchdog for a loving family. The problem is that Rutherford is a Basset Hound and his short legs don’t give him a very good chance of his wish coming true because he can’t move as fast as a watchdog needs to protect his family. Rutherford’s second choice is to be a stand-up comedian and he is one funny dog and loves to make others laugh! When Rutherford is abandoned by the owner of the breeding farm he lives on, he lands in a shelter and is placed for adoption. Rutherford makes a few friends at the shelter and misses them very much when they get adopted but hopefully, Rutherford will be adopted also – read and find out!

Rutherford is able to make others laugh and that comes in handy many times during the story. One instance is when one of his buddies, Boomer, is adopted by a dangerous man who takes him to live at a dog-fighting ring. Boomer and several other small dogs are used as bait for the big dogs about to fight. With the help of his other canine friends Rutherford creates a crazy plan to rescue Boomer and the other small dogs held captive by a bunch of Pit Bulls. It all circles around Rutherford’s stand-up routine. Can Rutherford laugh his way out of this problem and help Boomer or will his jokes get him in even more trouble?

I loved this story because of the many different angles. It is full of action and adventure, along with comedy and trouble, and friendship. Rutherford is a great friend and a funny comedian. The jokes in the story made me laugh out loud and I admit I did stop reading many times to tell these jokes to my parents. But even though Rutherford is funny and jokes around all the time he goes through some hard times like being abandoned by his owner and chased by coyotes. He is also bullied by some of the other dogs at the shelter and gets mixed up with a couple of bad characters who just use him for his jokes. But he does makes some really good friends and he learns who his real friends are when they come together to save Boomer.

The author writes a story that gives readers the experience of feeling many different emotions because there are so many different things going on. It’s a very fast and easy to read story because the way it’s written makes you want to keep reading. I love that it’s a dog telling the story; that makes it unique and it just wouldn’t work with people, would it? Certainly not the jokes! The dogs all have great names like Ace and Boomer and they all have different personalities that you will either like or not. My favorite character was Rutherford, of course, because he really went through a lot and always tried to stay positive, even if he wasn’t always sure of himself.

I was excited to learn that “Rutherford, Canine Comic” is the first book in a series – I can’t wait to see what Rutherford and his friends get into next. I recommend this book to kids aged 10 and up, because the humor and violence (dog fighting) might be too much for younger kids.

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