Elmer and the Talent Show

Elmer and the Talent Show
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
February 22, 2022
Buy This Book
Inspired by a real dog from Danny & Ron’s Rescue from the popular documentary, Life in the Doghouse, this first book in a sweet chapter book series follows an old dachshund who forms an unlikely friendship with the boy in his new family—a great fit for fans of Bruce Cameron’s Puppy Tales series

Elmer is a small dog with a big personality living at Danny and Ron’s rescue. He wants nothing more than for someone to become his forever family. But as an older dog with a floppy tongue that doesn’t stay in his mouth, it seems like he never fits the families’ idea of the perfect pet.

Benny’s family just moved (again), and what he wants are friends. So, when his parents announce they are getting a dog, he’s so excited to show it off—until they come home with a funny-looking older dachshund. To make matters worse, his parents have signed them up for a pet training course that will end with a big talent show in front of a crowd of strangers.

Thrown together, Elmer and Benny learn that the perfect best friend might be different than they imagined—but even better than they’d hoped.

Editor review

1 review
First book in Danny and Ron's Rescue series
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Benny’s father is a writer, and his mother is in the military, so they move frequently. Benny has had a hard time fitting in with his classmates, and his parents think it would help if he had a dog. They go to Danny and Ron’s rescue, and Benny has his heart set on a German Shepherd puppy, although Elmer, a ten year old dachshund who was badly neglected and whose tongue sticks out because of a broken jaw, has his heart set on this family to adopt him. When the parents come back to get the puppy, they see Elmer and are moved enough by his story that they bring him home. Benny is a bit reluctant, but bonds with the dog. The parents enrol the two in a dog agility class so that Benny can meet other children, and he gets along well with the outgoing and enthusiastic Kitts, whose dog, Coda, helps Elmer with some of the tasks in class. Unfortunately, the boys at school whom Benny would like to befriend make fun of Kitts, and Benny stands by and doesn’t stick up for her. The two manage to make up, and work with Elmer to help him participate in an agility competition.
Good Points
Since I adopted my dog Pongo when he was ten, I am a softie for any story that encourages readers to look at older dogs before they adopt or buy a puppy. Benny’s apprehension is understandable, but I liked how realistically the story unfolded, and how he found many things to like about Elmer. This story is based on a real case, and on a real rescue organization, Danny and Ron’s Rescue. (https://www.dannyronsrescue.org/)

This is too young for my students, but is an excellent choice for fans of Miles’ Puppy Place books, Barkley and Bishop’s Tracy Critter Club, or Stier’s A Dog’s Day books. It's a good length for newly independent readers who want more of a challenge, and has lots of good information about dog training.
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