Action, adventure, and three amazing intelligent dogs! See with your very own eyes and the inner eye of your mind (by reading) Max, Molly, and Oddie explore exotic locales, have exciting adventures, find historical artifacts and treasure, and sometimes risk their own lives to save their owners, the archeologists Felix and Erica Strong, in the truly awesome Middle Grade series of paperbacks, Those Amazing Dogs! The wonderful illustrations by Carlos Morales also help make the stories come to life for the readers.
Those Amazing Dogs: Trail of the Viking is the first series of stories about Those Amazing Dogs. Max is a Lhasa Apso, Molly’s a Yorkshire Terrier, and Oddie is a Pit Bull. It includes the complete text from books one through five, including “African River Adventure,” “In the Viking Volcano,” “At the Arctic Circle,” “At the Pirate Bay,” and “On the Coral Island.” These paperbacks can be purchased separately (as eBooks or print editions), and are great educational source materials for Middle Grade English classes that you might be lucky enough to see used in your own school system. They each have useful vocabulary words in a glossary at the end of the novels. The first book, African River Adventure, is offered as a free eBook here.
I really liked the three very distinct, colorful, and playful personalities of the dogs. They travel with their human owners from the rain forests of central Africa, through the frozen Arctic, down through Mexico and across the ocean to a mysterious island in the South Pacific. Max (the Lhasa Apso), at three years old and the leader, is the oldest of the trio, and the others look up to him for wisdom and guidance. Oddie (the Pit Bull) provides the muscle power whenever it’s needed, and his strong jaws come in handy to free them by biting through their leashes when they get in dangerous situations–for example, when they get dog-napped in the first book. Molly (the Yorkshire Terrier) is full of pep and energy, wanting to get involved in the middle of whatever adventure the dogs find themselves in. She’s often helpful, but as the youngest one at eighteen months, she acts the most like a puppy and sometimes gets the dogs into trouble.
By meeting various animals native to the lands they travel in, like a chimpanzee and a python in Nigeria and a polar bear and an Arctic fox in Iceland, the dogs and the book’s readers learn about the animals of each locale. Also, Felix and Erica, by their encounters with people they have known before or meet for the very first time, are introduced by their hosts and friends to the cultures, dances, foods, and history of the places they travel, which means that whomever reads the books will learn a lot about the cultures of different lands, as well.
The three amazing dogs follow clues and act like animal detectives, figuring out the links between lost civilizations and a mysterious Viking map that is among artifacts 1000 years old. They have Indiana Jones types of adventures, sometimes having to avoid traps, rescue their owners with the help of the animal friends they meet, and face natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes and man-made ones like sinking ships. There’s plenty of action along with a good mix of humor when the dogs show their playful and curious sides. They work together as a team, each one with his/her own special abilities, and each one contributing to their success.
What sorts of cool things can you learn as you read the exciting adventures of Those Amazing Dogs besides what I already mentioned? Knowledge about the ecology of the countries the dogs and their human owners travel through, like how loggers are destroying the forests of Nigeria, and how volcanoes and earthquakes are important in shaping some countries, like Iceland, and are accepted as a part of everyday life by the people of the country. Also, there’s information about the history of the Inuits, Mexican pyramids, pirates, and much, much more.
Those Amazing Dogs: Trail of the Viking is a fantastic way to get all of the five books in the series at once. Of course, you can buy each one individually and enjoy them; but, once you read the first one, you’ll be sure to want to read the rest of the series, whether you buy them individually or collected together. If you’re a fan of stories filled with action and adventure (and who isn’t?) and like to learn things at the same time as you read incredibly interesting tales about dogs and other animals, I would highly recommend that you read Those Amazing Dogs: Trail of the Viking.