Review Blog

Sep 08 2015

Selby Celebrates by Duncan Ball

cover image

Ill. by Allan Stoman. HarperCollins - Angus & Robertson, 2015. ISBN 9781460751268
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. This contains Selby's secret, Selby speaks, and Selby screams. Selby the only talking dog in Australia is celebrating his 30th birthday in print, although he's still only a ten year old dog with an amazing talent. It's time for another generation to delight in this lovable dog's antics, to watch as he fearlessly deals with some very strange characters, all the while pretending to be an ordinary pet for his owners' the Trifle family.
Duncan Ball's Selby celebrates combines the first three novels in one superb volume. Selby's secret was the very first novel published in 1985. Selby discovers his special ability one evening while watching television. He can understand what the actors are saying and then begins to practice speaking, watching himself in the mirror. He soon discovers that he must keep his talent to himself, otherwise he would become the Trifles' servant.
Selby's life is full of adventures and near mishaps. Cousin Wilhemina's prize winning poodle Freddington is ready for the Bogusville Canine Show, when Selby sneakily decides to resign his lavender fur-style by adding multi-coloured dyes and a creative cut. The result a winning punk dog. When Selby wins holiday tickets in a phone-in competition the Trifles and Selby are off on a disastrous adventure with Captain Slick Slipway and his ship The Golden Doldrum. Luckily Selby is there to save his owners from drowning.
In Selby speaks and Selby screams, the laughs and adventures continue. There's the issue with the lawn GOTE - herbaceous emulsifier, the fireworks fiasco of Cracker Night and an incident where he hides himself in The Screaming Mimi's Computerised High-Pitched Sound Blaster.
Duncan Ball's humorous text are filled with silly puns, quirky character names and crazy scenes, each chapter a new adventure which makes this a perfect class read-aloud or novel to be shared with a family. Allan Stoman's sketches bring Selby's accident prone dramas to life.
Rhyllis Bignell

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