Zora and the Greyhounds by Mark Guilliatt is paws-itively adorable!
In Zora and the Greyhounds, American Squirrel Hound (a.k.a. “mutt”) Zora loves to run and hang out with her best friend, Jackie. One day at the dog park, Zora meets a retired racing greyhound and decides that she wants to race too. All the dogs laugh at Zora for her dream, but with encouragement from her best friend Jackie, Zora trains to race the big dogs.
When I first requested Zora and the Greyhounds on NetGalley, I assumed it was a picture book from the cover and description (my fault for not reading closely!). Much to my surprise, the book was a small chapter book. I think this would be a great book for young readers making the bridge between picture books and chapter books because young readers will love the characters and understand the book’s theme, but also can be challenged by the book’s length.
Zora and Jackie, the main characters, are great friends who support each other no matter what. I admired how Jackie stood up for Zora even against dogs that towered over her and how Zora never gave up on her dream no matter how impossible it seemed. I also loved Zora’s dynamic with her owner, Mark, who clearly loved his pets and treated them well. What makes me even happier is that at the end of the book, the author explains that the characters are based on his own dogs!
While I loved the characters and overall theme of the book, there were some aspects that I believe could be improved. For me, it took a couple chapters to really get into the book because I had a hard time getting into the writing style . However, I really started getting into the book at the end. Much to my disappointment, the action cut off abruptly when Zora finally was admitted into the dog race. The whole point of the story was for Zora to defy the odds and race with the greyhounds, and even though the outcome of the race is not essential to the story, I wish I could have seen how it ended. It seemed like their was a ton of buildup just to be cut off when the story picked up.
Overall, Zora and the Greyhounds is a cute story with a good message for younger readers. I would recommend to this book to readers really into fantasy play, especially with stuffed animals. However, because it took me awhile to get invested in the story and the ending disappointed me, I give this book three out of five stars.
I received Zora and the Greyhounds as a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Also, Zora and the Greyhounds was published April 29, 2016, so you can already purchase it on Amazon, if you are interested!