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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"Sentience? I’m just a throwaway toy, an inanimate object. How can I have thought and emotion? Opinion and experience? I’d shrug my shoulders if I could. The world is brimful of mystery."

All the kids adore Doggem, the class cuddly toy. They each get to take him home. Hug him and love him and show him their world outside of school. All they have to do in return is write his
Kindle Edition, 48 pages
Published December 2nd 2018 by Amazon Media
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  43 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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What a fun and dark short story this was!

It's young George's turn to take Doggem home from school over the holidays. Doggem is a cute little stuffed toy and George is excited. The one responsibility that comes along with Doggem is his diary entries. George is required to write about Doggem's life from Doggem's point of view over their time off. George is a little worried about that, but is proud and happy to give it a shot. He will soon discover though, that Doggem is much more than he seems to
Rebecca Gransden
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A unsettling short story centred around a small toy named Doggem. Doggem has been the class educational toy for some time, his purpose to be taken home by a particular child who then in turn is tasked with writing a diary about time with the stuffed animal. Being cuter and more adorable than most toys Doggem easily endears himself to those who come into contact with him. One day it is the turn of a young student named George to take Doggem and complete a diary. Something extraordinary happens to ...more
Barb Taub
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Velveteen Rabbit meets Rosemary’s Baby.

John F. Leonard’s little story of Doggem is a sweet tale of a small boy, a favorite toy, murder, horror, and (possibly) the end of the world. Narrated by the toy dog Doggem—whose job is to go home with the five-year-olds in Mrs. Snady’s class and inspire them to practice their fledgling writing skills by writing up Doggem’s diary—we soon realize that the recently sentient toy is an unreliable narrator at best. His vocabulary and observations are far rem
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When John F. Leonard offered me to read this short story, I didn’t have to think twice and jumped at the chance. Having read his Call Drops, I knew I was in for a quirky treat!

In short, I absolutely loved this story. LOVED. IT! It is a simple idea, inspired by real life- a kid bringing home a soft toy from school to take care of it and diarize the events. It is a lovely little idea and surely has some benefits to it, however for the parents… well, I don’t blame any parents looking at this exerci
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A nice little short about an adorable educational toy that is going home with a very promising young boy. What could possibly go wrong with that.

P.S. My daughter had a bee named "Bumble" that she got to take home in first grade. Had a great week. Lots of activities. If only "bumble" could think, I wonder what he or she would have thought of it.

Georgia Rose
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Doggem, is a short story from John F Leonard and is a tale of a toy dog and dark deeds. I chose to read this as a member of Rosie's Book Review Team and received a copy from the author but that has not effected my review in any way.

In a bid to encourage literacy Mrs Snady encourages the pupils in her primary class to take the class toy dog, uninspiringly called Doggem, home for a week at a time. The child who has him in their possession is meant to document his time in their care. George Gould,
Gabriel Blake
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well written and twisted little tale.

Loved it!
The story of a little boy given an educational toy dog to look after over the summer holiday. A toy dog with a difference. George has to keep a diary of Doggem's time with him, but from Doggem's perspective. The thing is, as soon as Doggem came into contact with George something quite amazing happened. To say any more than that would give it away.
The tale is original, creepy, clever, and has a deceptive charm.
I didn't like it, I loved it.
Oliver Clarke
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review first appeared on

‘Doggem’ is a creepy little delight. A small but very nearly perfectly formed short story that made me smile and kept me flipping its pages. It has a fun concept which puts a nice spin on the standard “inanimate object comes to life” horror trope and it uses that to good effect in a satisfying and well-structured story.

The ‘Doggem’ of the title is a stuffed toy, one of those that primary/elementary school classes have and which the kids get to take
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, short-stories
It's been 20 years since I was the parent of a kindergartener, but I still remember my son coming home with a stuffed toy and a note from the teacher telling me it was our turn to host said toy for the weekend, and to record in it's diary the events of our time together. I don't remember what we shared with the class but I do remember keeping quiet about our cat dragging it to the litter box in an attempt to bury it or maybe murder it. Perhaps the cat sensed something? In this short story Doggem ...more
The Scary Reviews
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Clever plot with a nicely done twist. My review is posted here ---> ...more
Marina Johnson
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this unusual short story. Well written and atmospheric with a wry humour, by the time I finished the story it seemed completely possible that toys can come to life. Will definitely read more by this author.
Kim Napolitano
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amazing short story!

A plush toy dog that’s part of a school program finds his way into the life of a special boy and becomes witness to a horror. This review is brief because at 60 pages? Any comment is a spoiler. I don’t know if this is an introduction to a longer work ( I hope) and I can get to know more about the adventures of Doggem! Enjoy!
Steve Stred
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I previously read Mr. Leonard’s fun horror short Call Drops and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have seen John teasing this story on twitter and was looking forward to its release.

Now after reading it, all I can say is WOW!

Doggem is a stuffed toy that resides at a local elementary school. Our furry friend is a school project that gets to go home with a student for a short amount of time. The student gets to care for Doggem and gets to write diary entries for Doggem telling about each of his days.

Philip Athans
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed John F. Leonard's surprisingly robust little novella about a classroom's stuffed dog and the exceedingly strange humans it comes in contact with. Recommended!
Lesley Ann Campbell
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“All the kids adore Doggem, the class cuddly toy. They each get to take him home. Hug him and love him and show him their world outside of school. All they have to do in return is write his diary.

George Gould is going to introduce Doggem to a rather strange family.

It’s worth noting, both the stuffed toy and little boy are far from ordinary”

Funnily enough, not long before John F. Leonard passed me this book to read and review, myself and a colleague were chatting about her kids bringing the class
Red Lace Reviews
Doggem is an educational tool, used to help in the development of children. It's George Gould’s turn to take him home for the holiday season, where he and his parents will pay a visit to his grandmother. As observed, not all is right in the Gould clan. Certain schemes are talked about behind closed doors, yet are heard all the same.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank John F Leonard for giving me the opportunity.

Doggem, des
Shelley Wilson
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At last, a short story that grips you in that warm and darkly fuzzy place. I love my horror stories to have an element of the supernatural and Doggem delivered.

After dutifully completing the doggy diary (or Edward the Bear in our case!) every year with my three kids, it gave me a deliciously skewed idea of why teachers force these stuffed creatures upon us every weekend and holiday – I took the bear but always refused the hamster!

A fabulous story and an easy read. Shall definitely be reading mor
Iseult Murphy
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dark and delightful

Doggem, a toy dog, gains sapience unexpectedly, and a vocabulary to rival Frankenstein’s monster. Taken home by a little boy, the poor toy is not prepared for what he encounters. Neither was I. A delightfully dark tale. I loved it.
Ken Stark
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most of us had a favorite stuffed animal when we were young. We knew it was just cloth and thread and filler, but it was always so much more than that, wasn't it? Could it hear? Could it think? Could it feel? Probably not, but that didn't stop us from treating it like it did. We slept with it, we talked to it, and we carried that inanimate thing around with us everywhere we went, just so those little button eyes could share in our little piece of the world.

In his short story, Doggem, John F. Leo
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Doggem: A Tale of Toy Dogs and Dark Deeds takes a school project which is often innocent and fun and paints a much darker side of it. In this short story, Doggem is a beloved stuffed dog that is sent home with school children along with a diary. The child is supposed to have the toy for a weekend or whatever and record what the child and Doggem did during the toy's stay at the child's house. What should be a fun project for the child - and an insight to home life for teachers - becomes something ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review by Terry Melia
John F Leonard has created a dark tale centred on the innocent theme of a school educational cuddly toy that is taken home in turn by school class members for a short period with the intention of keeping a regular diary of their home life whilst the toy is in residence. Things turn dark very quickly when we are introduced to the thoughts and feelings of the not so inanimate cuddly toy – Doggem.
A young boy – George has the honour of ‘possessing’ Doggem over a six week during
Mark Woods
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s a hard dogs life

Doggem is just the class toy.
Children take him home, write his adventures in his diary, and send him back to school.
Until George gets him.
And then suddenly Doggem starts to develop sentience...

This was a great little short story and a lot of fun to read. It will certainly encourage me to pick up more by this author, and there is a darkness to this tale that perfectly and almost flawlessly compliments its sweetness.
A real gem of a short story!
Five stars.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, such an awesome story, check out my review here... ...more
Alexander Pain
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book offered an intriguing and thoughtful take on the horror concept of a child's toy come to life. It's well worth reading!
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Very surprise ending to this short book. Didn't see it coming, even with the breadcrumb dropped early on in the story.

Reason for only 3 stars; Doggem is filled with waxing philosophical thoughts. This ole dog [me] likes bone and meat in a story and pages of waxing and waning leave me feeling empty.
Yolanda Sfetsos
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A few months ago I read a very creepy short story written by this author, so I was looking forward to checking this one out too.

Doggem is the class toy. A stuffed dog that gets passed around the class so the teacher can assess the kids in her class, as well as the parent involvement.

When George gets to take Doggem home for the holidays, his parents don't seem to care. They're too wrapped up in the visit they're planning to Grandma's house. And when they get there, something awful looms in the wo
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Winning combination of a creepy story with a toy dog coming to life. Doggem is a school mascot who is shared among the young pupils along with a diary for the kids to recount their shared adventures over holidays and weekends. Rather like the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Doggem springs to life with enviable language skills with which he narrates an unexpectedly dark tale. I found this a very enjoyable read, and I would like to read further Doggem adventures and more from this author. ...more
Mat Horton
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great campsite read

I (probably shouldn’t have) read it to my boys over a campfire when we were out camping. It was an eerie atmospheric read setting the scene with the sparks crackling into the black trees on a starry night. Well done John. We all enjoyed it. And at least we finished it -unlike some gormless rude fat nonenetitities who pretend to review books but cannot be bothered to read them
Aaron B.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Unique and original.
Travis Mays
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! 😳 Never saw it coming.

A very unique tale told from a unique perspective. Although this book has a very satisfying end, I am still left wanting more. Doggem is no doubt my most recent favorite read.
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John was born in England and grew up in the midlands where he learned to love the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains. He studied English, Art and History and has, at different times, been a sculptor, odd-job man and office worker. He enjoys horror and comedy (not necessarily together). Married with two astonishing children, he now lives a few miles from the old Vict ...more

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