ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

…Or in longer words ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS – SECRETS, SECRET SERVICE, AND ROOM SERVICE. Yes, that’s got to be the longest title Elvisfor a sequel or any other book this year.  I came across the first book in this series a year ago (ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS) and almost didn’t read it because I’m not a fan of stories with a talking dog. I pushed forth anyway and enjoyed the tale with its fun set of human characters, and yes, the perceptive wit of Elvis, the 200  pound Newfoundland.  I had intended to review Elvis but never got that far. I’m happy the void is removed with today’s review of the longer titled book 2.

You won’t have to worry if you missed the first book. All the important details from that story are told on the book jacket and in the first few chapters. All the characters return for another wild adventure. The series seems more appealing to new MG readers perhaps in that 8-10 age group.

You’ll grimace at how implausible all of this is but by the last page you won’t be able to get the smile off your face.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon): It’s been months since Benji’s former safety dog, Elvis, was whisked away by the Secret Service, but Benji still misses him terribly. Luckily, because Elvis is now the president’s dog, there are plenty of pictures and videos of him online.

While watching the footage of the president’s speech on the White House lawn, Benji and his friends Alexander and Taisy see Elvis thumping his tail repeatedly. Is he trying to tell Benji something? The kids realize it’s actually a code! And Elvis needs their help.

And so begins another madcap adventure in which these underdog best friends will have to find a way to travel to DC, find out the truth behind Elvis’s distress signals, and uncover state secrets without getting caught . . . or they may have to say good-bye to Elvis for good.


  1. The climax of the story takes place inside the White House. A very cool setting for the plot points to come to a happy conclusion.
  2. If you like plenty of slapstick with your humor look no further than the scenes in the White House kitchen.
  3. Our protagonist, Benji, is an enduring character with lots of personality. He’s been sick for most of his life and needs a service dog like Elvis to keep him out of harms way. This adds much of the heart present in the story.
  4. Despite the length of this one, it is not filled with pictures, but those that appear at the beginning of each chapter are appropriate and sometimes funny in their own right. Congrats to Kelly Light, the illustrator, for keeping the theme of the story in her drawings.
  5. This would make a great read-aloud and be especially good for kids having an unwanted stay in a hospital. I spent a week in one when I was in fifth grade and Elvis and the Underdogs would have made that time much more pleasurable.


Have you ever heard the expression “small kid, big personality”? No? Well, that’s not surprising, because I just made it up.


My first dog was a mixed breed named Julie. (Hey, I’m also against giving dogs human-y names, but don’t blame me. I was six years old!) Julie apparently ran away and joined the circus after she had a run-in with the gas meter guy. Or so I was told. Again, I was six. I didn’t ask questions.


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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13 Responses to ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. msyingling says:

    This one must come down on the elementary side of the Middle Grade line, because I couldn’t get into the first one. Do have more readers looking for dog books, though, and they love The Fourth Stall, which I kind of think is silly.

  2. It’s always good when an author remind us of what happened in book 1 in case we didn’t read it. Sounds like a fun book for younger middle graders.

  3. What an interesting series. They sound very entertaining for middle graders, especially the newest book. Like the idea of a secret service dog guarding the president and a service dog helping his son. Great review.

  4. cleemckenzie says:

    I’m with Natalie. Some background is good, and based on that information, I sometimes want to get the previous books, too.

  5. warrchick says:

    I don’t mind animals that talk, so long as its handled well, and it sounds like this is. I think I’ll have to pick this one up–many thanks for the recommend!

  6. jennienzor says:

    This sounds fun. I think this would be one my son would really love, especially since it has humor and animals. I think I might have to check it out to see that White House climax scene.

  7. Joanne Fritz says:

    Humor is always a big plus for those younger MG readers, even though I’m not a huge fan of talking dog stories. Thanks for telling us about this one. Good to know it’s easy to figure out without reading the first book.

  8. Slapstick humor is always a good thing. This sounds like a lot of fun. I think my granddaughter would really like it. Thanks for the review.

    • I’ve been wondering where Rosi has been the past two weeks. I found her in my WordPress spam folder for some unknown reason. I have remedied the situation and have caught up with your comments. Thanks for being such a frequent commenter.

  9. Tail-thumping code? Secret service dog? got me hooked….

  10. Janet Smart says:

    This sounds like such a fun book, just the kind I like!

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