I originally wrote this review in February of 2014, when my daughter and I were reading through the Golden Sower Chapter Book nominees. This title ended up being the first of a three-book series, which is nice for readers who become attached to the main characters and enjoy the author’s writing style.
I don't know about you, but when someone says "smells like dog" to me, I think YUCK! (And I have two dogs, whose smell ranges from traditional doggie odor to a Frito-like scent to an aroma close to dead fish. None of them are very pleasant.)
Fortunately, the title of this book is deceiving. "Smells Like Dog", another middle grade Golden Sower nominee my daughter and I read together, is really the story of young Homer Winslow Pudding, the middle child of a family living outside a teeny town (in Great Britain?) on a goat farm. Dear Homer idolizes his uncle, who roams the world searching for treasure, returning to the goat farm to regale his nephew with amazing stories and rare gifts. An unexpected death (by tortoise, it turns out) is the catalyst for a chain of events that sets Homer on his own quest -- not only for treasure, but also for truth.
Smells is fairly well-written. There are a lot of word-plays (like the Snooty-and-Snooty lawyers), which were at first cute, but then annoying for this adult reader. (My daughter barely noticed them.) The book was well-paced, although it felt a little long-winded here and there. Still, there is quite a bit of adventure and excitement, and there were a few nights when my daughter and I ended up reading much longer than we had intended. Which is nice.