The Dog Who Saved the World

Random/Schwartz & Wade. Dec. 2020. 400p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525707486.
Gr 3-7–Georgie and her pal Ramzy meet Dr. Pretorius, an eccentric scientist, while walking on the beach with Georgie’s dog Mr. Mash. Mr. Mash has to live at a no-kill dog shelter because Georgie’s soon-to-be stepmom, Jessica, is allergic to dogs. Dr. Pretorius convinces the friends to participate in a highly sophisticated and secret virtual reality experiment she is conducting that allows people to travel to the future. Meanwhile the dog shelter, where Mr. Mash lives and where Georgie volunteers, is the epicenter of a new canine-born form of Ebola which originated in China and was inadvertently brought to the shelter by a Chinese family looking for a dog. Infected dogs are being put down, and the disease is beginning to spread to humans, resulting in global panic. It is up to Georgie and Ramzy to travel into the future to save the world with the help of a few others, such as Georgie’s older brother Clem, Mr. Mash, and Jessica, who works for a biobotics research unit investigating infectious diseases. This title is currently being released in the U.S. and was originally published in 2019 in Britain.
VERDICT Although remarkably prescient as it features a deadly pandemic, it reinforces negative stereotypes about Asian people being the vector responsible for transmitting an infectious disease. It is unfortunate as the plot is engaging and would undoubtedly appeal to middle school readers (although be warned: A lot of dogs die). Not recommended.

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