Chooseday Tuesday: Gordan Korman “No More Dead Dogs”

No More Dead Dogs

Title: No More Dead Dogs
Author: Gordan Korman
Pages: 180

Released: October 1, 2002
Publisher: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children
Format: Paperback

Genre: Humour, Middle Grade
Goodreads Rating: 3.71 (of 7,404 ratings)


Nobody understands Wallace Wallace. This reluctant school football hero has been suspended from the team for writing an unfavorable book report of Old Shep, My Pal. But Wallace won’t tell a lie — he hated every minute of the book! Why does the dog in every classic novel have to croak at the end? After refusing to do a rewrite, his English teacher, who happens to be directing the school play Old Shep, My Pal, forces him go to the rehearsals as punishment. Although Wallace doesn’t change his mind, he does end up changing the play into a rock-and-roll rendition, complete with Rollerblades and a moped!


I may or may not (okay, definitely may) have raved about Gordan Korman’s talent for creating humourous and original characters before. He does this in spades in No More Dead Dogs. Wallace Wallace is indeed the “reluctant football hero” as pitched by the book’s summary (considering he’s really just a bench-warmer who lucked out and caught the touchdown pass that won last year’s championship game). He also categorically refuses to tell a lie under any circumstances: which includes his book report on his English teacher’s favourite (but super boring) book, Old Shep, My Pal.

As the story plays out, readers learn the effects of lies VS truth VS that shady gray area on friendship. Korman does a great job of illustrating how easy it is to make assumptions and believe that what you see is the truth — and how those quick assumptions hurt those around you. For example, Rachel Turner, an actress in the book’s play, struggles to see the difference between fact and assumption.

This book is indeed middle grade, so be aware of that before diving in. Sometimes the narrative includes exclamation marks (which you really only see in middle grade or children’s books) and feels so odd because who thinks in exclamation marks? But obviously this isn’t the end of the world. The characters also have interests/issues that can appear trivial to older readers — i.e. will my crush ever notice me?? Man, that boy is so annoying! — but the end of the world to the characters. However, I can also consider this upper middle grade, not because of serious topics but because the characters are very mature. Wallace does a lot of chores around the house and emphasizes the importance of helping those around you, Rachel emphasizes the importance of respecting authority, etc. I’m in my early twenties and could still enjoy the book — use this as a gauge for yourself!

In terms of plot, the book is well paced and delivers a spectacle at the end (typical of Korman books). The characters learn a lesson on the meaning of friendship, telling the truth (and when it is relevant), and even the English teacher ends up learning something (I’ll leave you to see what it is). I was laughing throughout the book at Rachel’s attempts to block Wallace from “taking over the play.”

One thing that stood out in particular was the reason Wallace was in detention: that he did not write a “good” book report. I’m sure everyone here has had to write a book report for school before. The worst ones, though, are when teachers demand that students share the same feelings as the teacher about the book. NO NO NO! Every person needs to be allowed to experience a book in their own way! Wallace hated Old Shep, My Pal … and that needs to be okay! (He even submitted well-thought out reasons why!) Books are personal experiences, and teachers/critics/etc cannot structure how people enjoy them. WHICH IS WHY I particularly like how the book ended… But you would have to see that for yourself!


Four crowns because the book was a quick read (which is how I best enjoy humour), a good laugh, the characters were stand outs, and I always love me some Korman.

NOW, what genre should I read for next week? Vote in the comments below!

(1) Romance
(2) Fantasy 
(3) Retellingfour-stars

Has a teacher ever made you write a positive book report for a book you just couldn’t stand? When is it okay to lie … and when is it not?


7 thoughts on “Chooseday Tuesday: Gordan Korman “No More Dead Dogs”

  1. Haha I feel like way too many English teachers try to force their views of a book on their students, so I can relate to this. I love middle-grade novels by the way! I feel like protagonists do tend to be a bit more mature for some reason, and the morals are just so feel-good. Great review! I’m glad you ended up enjoying this! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Waaaayy too many English teachers! Yeah, I can agree with this. Middle grade authors often pay attention to the characterization, and make sure the protagonists actually mature through the book. Sometimes YA will just boil down to a romance or crazy decisions for plot. And I loove the morals in middle grade, we’re in agreement! Glad you liked the review! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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