Rated Reads

Grk Smells a Rat

by Joshua Doder

Rated: None

Ever since he found his dog Grk, 12-year-old Tim Malt has had adventures he would not have had otherwise. First, he went from his home in England to a small European country, Stanislavia, to save Grk’s first owners, Max and Natascha Raffifi, who were left as orphans when the country was taken over by a dictator and their ambassador parents were killed.

In Grk Smells a Rat
, the fifth book in the series, Tim and his parents, who took guardianship of the siblings at the end of the first book, A Dog Called Grk, accompany them to India, where Max is competing in a tennis tournament. As they travel to tour the Taj Mahal, they meet a boy who is selling pirated books, and they start on a new adventure, this time one involving a strange gang headed by a blue rat.

As always, this latest Grk book delivers action and peril tailored nicely for young readers and serves it with sides of fun and silliness. This book is entertaining but at times can feel (to an adult reader, at least) that it’s trying a bit hard to teach young readers about the plight of children in India: living conditions are terrible, millions are horribly impoverished, and many children are being exploited. But young readers likely will miss what could be some “teaching moments” and just enjoy the ride in the new Grk adventure.

Rated: None. (But as with the previous Grk books, there are mentions about the dog going pee and poo, so if you want to avoid that with your younger children, be warned.)

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 15 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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Grk Smells a Rat
  • Grk Smells a Rat
  • by Joshua Doder
  • Rated: None
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: