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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Ruffing It by Greg Trine is a cute, funny children's story about a magic trick gone wrong. A boy named Mike wants to change his little sister into a frog for eating his homework, but his best friend Charlie, who is present during the attempt, gets changed into a dog instead. This sets up the fun furry romp that lies ahead. Charlie is a dog on the outside, a boy on the inside, and transforming more into a dog by the hour. Besides the problem of getting changed back into a boy, Charlie has to worry about the basics--where to live, what to eat, and his mother thinks he's been abducted. And if that isn't enough, there is a bully, a teacher/suspected Russian spy/mafia hitman, and a determined dogcatcher to contend with. Can Mike change Charlie back into the boy he knew as his best friend? What if he can't? Will Charlie ever be with his family again? These things are addressed as the story goes on.
Trine has mixed together the finest of elements to create an entertaining story grade-school kids will love: Magic, science, animals, risk, conflict, a race against time, and suspense. The author gets the adventure off to a quick start from the first page and has a funny way with words. Even the names of locations, like Last Chance Gulch, and the names of characters, like Fletcher Stickney and Gertrude McRump, make you smile. The idea alone is enough to open the book to read the first few pages, but it's the cast of characters, plot, and Trine's infectious style that keep you reading. The dialogue is perfect for a young audience and rings realistically with a balance of youthful sarcasm and cuteness. Telling the story from Charlie's POV works perfectly too. One of my favorite parts is when Charlie wants to chase cars. You just have to find out if Charlie gets fully turned back into his rightful species. This would make a great gift for any young reader who likes magic, dogs, and seemingly impossible situations. Just imagine what it would be like if you were transformed into a dog. What would you think? How would you feel? Come along with Mike and Charlie. Ruffing It by Greg Trine will help you figure it all out.