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The Great Dog Disaster

Illustrated by Hannah Shaw

About The Book

An old dog learns new tricks in this entertaining tale from the creators of The Great Hamster Massacre.

This is a story about Suzanne’s new dog, Beatrice—and how she saved us. (And how that helped save her, too…)

Suzanne’s Great-Aunt Deidra has left her dog to Suzanne’s mom in her will. Suzanne is delighted they are getting a dog again, since her dad sent their last pup to live on a farm. But when Beatrice the Newfoundland arrives, she is a BIG disappointment. She’s slow, and she’s old, and she’s got serious stomach issues. Suzanne and Anna are determined to turn Beatrice into the dog of their dreams, but can their canine boot camp prevent Suzanne’s dad from sending Beatrice away too?


The Great Dog Disaster CHAPTER 1 An Actual Disaster

This is a story about my friend Suzanne, and her dog, and me, and Tom, and the Great Dog Disaster. Most of the time, when people say, “Oh, it’s a disaster!” it probably isn’t. Like when Dad’s watching soccer, and they’re up one to zero, and the whistle’s going to go, and the keeper gets an own goal.Or when Mom’s been to the shops, and put the bags in the trunk, and slammed it shut, and locked the car keys inside it. Or when it’s Mrs. Constantine’s Sunday School Concert, and Emma Hendry starts her solo, and her hair gets set on fire by Graham Roberts’s Christingle candle. Those things might be bad (especially for Emma Hendry, because her hair had never been cut before and she had to have a bob), but they aren’t actual disasters. Because I looked “disaster” up in my dictionary, and this is what it said:

disaster [di-zas-ter] noun a calamitous event, occurring suddenly and causing great harm or death

The Great Dog Disaster was an Actual Disaster though. It got on the news, and in the paper, and me and Tom and Suzanne had our photos taken and everything.

Tom is my brother. He’s five. He’s four years younger than me. I’m nine. My name is Anna. I’ve got another brother and a sister too, but they’re not in this story because they’re older than me and Tom and they don’t really care about dogs, and disasters, and things that me and Suzanne do. Anyway, even though lots of people have heard about the Great Dog Disaster, it’s only me who knows exactly what happened. Because there are some things about it that I have never told anyone. And I’m going to put those in this story as well. And when it’s finished, I’ll put my notebook in the shed, on the shelf, where no one will see it, behind the worms, and the wasp trap, and the piccalilli jar that’s got all Suzanne’s stitches in it.

About The Author


Katie Davies knows a thing or two about animal disasters. She is the author of The Great Dog Disaster, The Great Cat Conspiracy, The Great Rabbit Rescue, and her first book, The Great Hamster Massacre, which was inspired by true events—when she was twelve years old, after a relentless begging campaign, she was given two Russian Dwarf hamsters for Christmas. She has yet to recover from what happened to those hamsters. Katie lives with her family in North London. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Photograph courtesy of the author

Hannah Shaw was born into a large family of sprout-munching vegetarians. She lives in a little cottage in the Cotswolds with her husband, Ben the blacksmith, and her rescue dog, Ren. She finds that her overactive imagination fuels new ideas, but unfortunately it keeps her awake at night!

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (May 7, 2013)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442445178
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

“Intrepid 9-year-olds Anna and Suzanne tackle their latest pet challenge with customary ingenuity, elaborate plans and lists, and allies old (Mr. Tucker and Mrs. Rotherham) and young (Anna’s cookie-loving brother, Tom)…. Davies doesn’t sugarcoat harsh realities; family financial constraints, mendacious parents and intimations of mortality—animal and human—lurk amid the hilarity, lending understated pathos to the proceedings. Shaw’s quirky art continues to charm (Miss Matheson’s snappy dog is a treat). Characteristically funny, this concludes a British series that has been a breath of fresh middle-grade air.”

– Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2013

"Readers who enjoy Jackie French's chapter books about wacky families will find this British story similarly accessible and delightful."

– Booklist Online

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More books from this author: Katie Davies

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