Dog Days (The Carver Chronicles #1)

by Karen English (Author) Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

It's tough being the new kid at Carver Elementary. Gavin had lots of friends at his old school, but the kids here don't even know that he's pretty good at skateboarding, or how awesome he is at soccer. And when his classmate Richard comes over and the boys end up in trouble, not only does Gavin risk losing his one new friend, he has to take care of his great aunt Myrtle's horrible little dog as punishment.

To make matters worse, Gavin seems to have attracted the attention of the school bully. Will he be able to avoid getting pounded at the skate park? And how is he ever going to prove he's cool with a yappy little Pomeranian wearing a pink bow at his side?

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Black-and-white spot illustrations break up the text and make this an accessible book for emerging chapter-book readers.

Horn Book Magazine

Chapter book readers have few options if they want to read about urban boys of color; here's hoping for more about Gavin and his friends.

Publishers Weekly

English returns to Carver Elementary, the setting of her Nikka and Deja books, in this strong kickoff to her Carver Chronicles series. This time, the protagonist is new student Gavin, whose cool-kid potential (namely his basketball and skateboard skills) is undermined by his family. His parents don't allow him to play "overly violent" video games, and his older sister, Danielle, calls him mortifying nicknames like Gavmeister. Both of these horrors are revealed when Gavin's new friend, Richard, comes over, a visit that ends with the boys accidentally breaking Danielle's prized snow globe. In order to pay back his sister, Gavin earns money by walking his great-aunt Myrtle's cranky and extremely accessorized Pomeranian, Carlotta. English captures Gavin's realistic frustrations on the home front and the social nuances of elementary school life as he struggles to fit in without compromising himself ("Gavin doesn't know if he likes that Deja girl. She reminds him too much of his sister"). Freeman's upbeat spot illustrations and English's accessible storytelling target the book to emerging independent readers. Ages 6-9. Illustrator's agent: Bernadette Szost, Portfolio Solutions. (Dec.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Karen English

Karen English is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning author and retired elementary school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Laura Freeman has illustrated several books for young readers, including the Nikki and Deja and Carver Chronicles series, and Natalie's Hair Was Wild, which she also wrote. Laura lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Twitter: @LauraFreemanArt.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
October 14, 2014
Carver Chronicles
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV002070 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dogs
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV039000 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | General
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
JUV032140 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Skateboarding
Library of Congress categories
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United S
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Bullying
Moving, Household
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General (see also
JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
JUVENILE FICTION / School & Education
JUVENILE FICTION / Lifestyles / City & Town L
JUVENILE FICTION / Readers / Chapter Books
Great aunts
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Values & V
Pomeranian dog
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Peer Press
JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Skat

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