Book Review: Rebel Dogs!

Book Review: Rebel Dogs!

rebel dogs

Rebel Dogs!

Heroic Tales of Trusty Hounds

Written by Kimberlie Hamilton

160 pages

Published by Scholastic UK

Publication date: 1st August 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Tail-wagging tales of real-life Rebel Dogs!

Get your paws on the stories and secrets of some of history’s most heroic hounds!

An engaging collection packed with over 30 real-life dogs, including film stars with furhounds that love to helpsuperstars of science and war heroes – these rebel dogs are the stars of their own stories.

With incredible fur-raising facts on record-making dogs, marvellous mutts in literature, internet-sensation pups and much, much more – this beautiful book is perfect for pup fans of any age.

Rebel Dogs is the perfect gift for any pup lover, all year round!

These pictures show two of my favourites from the book – the most intelligent dog based on how many words he could recognise and the dog that discovered the Lascaux cave complex in France, filled with prehistoric paintings.

First impressions: I wanted to read this as soon as I spotted that adorable cover (Risa Rodil, whose art I adore!) I am also a massive dog-lover so was pretty sure that I was going to love this even before I picked it up.

I did expect to perhaps laugh, but I didn’t expect to cry (4 times but who’s counting?) while reading it!

This book looks at dogs from all over the world who have done something amazing, with each story presented in an engaging, easy-to-read format and accompanied by an illustration from several different illustrators. Each story is followed by a list of other dogs who have become famous for something similar or related. There are also interesting facts about dogs and a fun quiz at the end. In short, there really is something for everyone in this book!

I picked it up, intending to just have a flick through and ended up reading it cover to cover, then sharing several of the stories in it with my family! It is equally suitable for dipping into, reading a story at a time or for reading, as I did, from start to finish. It is really fascinating to see how mankind’s best friend has played such an important role in so many historical events.

Here are another two of the stories which I loved – a dog who joined his owner in a fighter plane on dozens of flights, becoming their lucky mascot and the first of a series of dogs who have helped to protect a population of penguins!

What I liked: The wide variety of dogs featured, as well as the artwork from lots of different artists to represent them. While there were certain styles that I liked more than others, the sheer differences between them made each story feel individual and fresh.

Even better if: The selection of animals seemed quite America-centric, at first, but I was happy to see four-legged representatives from lots of different countries by the end. Honestly, I could have read and enjoyed this book at twice the length as each story was so engaging! Now I need to track down the one about cats too!

How you could use it in your classroom: This would be perfect as a non-fiction read-aloud as each story is short, snappy and fascinating. I would love to use some of these stories as stimuli or writing or for each child to create their own artwork. This is sure to be a hit with any dog-lovers in your class and the short story format makes it welcoming and accessible even for less confident readers. The quiz at the end is a great interactive point and I liked the way tidbits of other stories were added after each main feature – this could be a fun start for further research.

About the Author


Kimberlie Hamilton is a writer who used to live in sunny Southern California and now lives in misty Northern Scotland with four cats. She has written all sorts of things over the years, including travel brochures, screenplays, websites and teaching materials for her English students in Japan. She is passionate about animals (especially cats!) and loves to write entertaining nonfiction books for children. Kimberlie has a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently pursuing another Master’s in Cultural & Creative Communication at the University of Aberdeen. She shares her latest adventures and photos in her travel and lifestyle blog, The Hippie Chick’s Guide to the Highlands.

(Thank you very much to Scholastic UK for kindly sending me a review copy – this will now be shared with my class!)

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of The Dog That Saved Christmas, McTavish the Dog, Argyle Fox, The Last Tree, Run Wild, White Feather or Stardust?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!


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