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The class book review: Safari Pug

This animal adventure is one dog’s tale that won’t stop wagging

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This animal adventure is one dog’s tale that won’t stop wagging

Safari Pug
Laura James
Illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans
Bloomsbury Children’s
£5.99, paperback
ISBN 9781408866405


This is the first in the “Pug” series of books that I have read, and I will admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first sight, the cover is inviting, with very eye-catching artwork. It’s hard to see how any seven-year-old would be able to resist it, based on the cover alone.

We read this book jointly as a class. Initially, the children were happy to have the story just read to them, but once they saw the artwork inside the book, I had to keep moving around the room so that they could all get a look at it – they found the illustration of Arlene von Bling stuck on a fence very amusing indeed.

We were able to read a chapter at a time, and the children were very keen to find out what was going to happen next. Laura James keeps the suspense just at the right level to ensure that all the children are engaged throughout, but not to the extent that they’re too worried about what is going to happen to the main characters.

There are many points in the book that allowed for some class discussion. What is a sedan chair? We looked it up together and found that quite interesting to know. Likewise, what exactly was the role of a footman? This meant that children could offer their opinions and be involved in the class read, rather than just listening. As a group activity, it was very enjoyable.

I’d initially had some reservations about the book: I thought that there would be some of my class who would dislike it. (I know now that the series is popular among the girls in my class.) However, I needn’t have worried: it really is a story that captivates all, and I don’t think there was one child in the class who wasn’t happy when I announced that there was enough time to read a chapter.

Amy Neale is a Year 3 student teacher based in Kent

Pupil reviews

Animal magic and a sense of justice

‘10 out of 10’

I would give this book 10 out of 10! The best character is Pug. I love, love, love this book.

Chloe, 7


‘A story with a problem that gets solved’

I give it 1000,000,000/10! I now love pugs and I love animals. Stories with a problem that gets solved and books like that are my favourite.

Annabelle, 8


‘Lovable penguins’

I liked the story because it had penguins in it. I liked Pug, too. This book is fantastic. I also loved the meerkats!

Samuel, 7


‘It gave me the best dream ever’

I liked it when the lion, Florence, jumped on Pug. I had the best dream ever after the story!

Amiee, 8



I liked the part where Florence came up to Pug because it was cute. It was funny when Arlene von Bling fell on the gate. This book is fantastic.

Izzy, 7


‘Cute and funny’

I liked the part when Florence came up to Pug and licked Pug because it was cute and funny. But I didn’t like it when Arlene von Bling stole the animals. It was fun when a monkey jumped on Arlene von Bling, and when a baby penguin jumped on Pug.

Isabelle, 7


Meerkat caper

I liked the bit where Arlene von Bling stole the meerkat.

Maizie, 8


‘I felt sorry for the lions’

I liked it when Florence came out of the crate and Arlene von Bling locked them in the education centre and ran off with Pug and Florence. I think Arlene von Bling deserved what happened to her at the end, but the lions definitely didn’t deserve to have a pointy boot thrown at them.

Bailey, aged 7


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