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Smells Like Dog #1

Smells Like Dog

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Meet Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who's got big dreams-to follow in the footsteps of his famous treasure-hunting uncle. But when Uncle Drake mysteriously disappears, Homer inherits two things: a lazy, droopy dog with no sense of smell, and a mystery.

Why would his uncle call this clumsy dog his "most treasured possession?" And why did he put a gold coin on the dog's collar?

And who will continue Uncle Drake's quest-to find the most coveted pirate treasure in the world?

Join Homer, his sister Gwendolyn, and Dog on an adventure that will test their wits and courage as they leave their peaceful farm and head into a world where ruthless treasure hunters hide around every corner. Where they discover that Dog has a hidden talent and that treasure might be closer than they ever imagined...

368 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2010

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About the author

Suzanne Selfors

51 books799 followers
Suzanne Selfors lives on an island near Seattle where it rains all the time, which is why she tends to write about cloudy, moss-covered, green places.
She's married, has two kids, and writes full time.
Her favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, and most especially, Roald Dahl.

Please visit her at www.suzanneselfors.com to learn more about her books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 250 reviews
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
2,914 reviews1,469 followers
August 7, 2018
3.5 stars

Chunky kid Homer Pudding lives on a goat farm with his parents and siblings. His sister dreams of being the Royal Taxidermist at the Museum of Natural History in The City where the Pudding children are forbidden to go. Homer has big dreams too. He wants to be an explorer and discover treasure like his Uncle Drake. Other kids in Muddyville laugh at him for his dreams and for not being athletic. Homer's Dad thinks The City is too dangerous and the kids should stay on the farm and raise goats. Homer is crushed to learn of his uncle's untimely demise in The City. When Uncle Drake leaves Homer his most prized possession, Homer's life changes forever. Uncle Drake left Homer a Basset Hound with no sense of smell and a mysterious gold coin attached to his collar. Then Homer receives an invitation to a mysterious VIP party at the Museum of Natural History, he seizes his chance to find out what happened to his uncle's maps and books and what the gold coin means.

This book was on display in the children's room of the local city library. It can best be described as being in the style of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling with a dash of steampunk. It's unusual and messy but the plot is so exciting I could not put the book down. This book is best recommended for kids 12 and under. It would be a good read aloud for a young child who can handle the mild peril sequences. The story has a strong moral about right vs. wrong at the end.

As Homer falls in love with Dog, the reader will too. Dog is certainly a memorable character. He is quite endearing and quirky. Clever readers will figure out the mystery of Dog quickly, long before Homer does. I love that Dog is a dog with a disability and that sends a message to kids about compassion. (There's also a human character with a genetic mutation that makes her different).

Uncle Drake seems to have been a fun and unusual man. His choice of companions is a little odd and unusual, like himself. He's the only adult who nurtured Homer's dreams. Uncle Drake saw the potential in Dog even when no one else did.

Kids who are a bit different from their peers will connect with Homer. I sure could relate to him. What I didn't like about this world is that all the adults are unsympathetic and even villainous. Like Lemony Snicket's books, the kid characters have to rely only on themselves. Homer's mother is kind and sympathetic but she doesn't do him any favors by feeding him extra food. She doesn't really stand up to the father and support the children even though she is presented as loving and kind. Homer is, of course, intelligent and wise beyond his years. He is very determined to figure out the mystery of the missing treasure but also to do the right thing and donate the treasure.

His sister Gwendolyn is horrible. She's a sullen teenager who longs to be a taxidermist. She isn't kind or understanding at all. She uses Homer to get what she wants and isn't smart enough to realize someone else is manipulating behind the scenes. Lorelei is a stronger female character. Being an adult I had a pretty good idea of what she was thinking and feeling but the story is from a child's point-of-view so naturally Homer is fascinated by the not quite homeless girl.

Adjibah and Zelda are unusual adult characters. Zelda admits to having done dark and dangerous deeds. Is she a villain? I empathized with her feelings about her height and how it has affected her life. Adjibah is a quirky inventor who rides around in a cloudcopter. He could be helpful or he could be harmful. This is a kid's book after all! He could be a bit of both. I didn't quite care for him.

The villains are very cartoonish. The chief villain is a master manipulator and I wasn't surprised by some of their revelations. The sidekick is a typical bumbling idiot of a sidekick - not quite a villain and not quite evil, just selfish. If you've read a lot of books of this sort, you'll recognize the type.

I stayed up too late reading this book and woke up too early to finish it yet I didn't really love it. It combines the well known formula with steampunk which doesn't quite work and also adds in too much about goat farming. The writing just doesn't have the depth of the classic authors but this book is worth a read for young readers who may not be ready yet for the complicated, sophisticated ASOUE or the darkness of Harry Potter.
Profile Image for Jennie Smith.
273 reviews61 followers
June 18, 2010
Let me tell you how much I love this book. I laughed so hard during this book that my husband kept looking at me like I was nuts (nothing new here people, but still). Suzanne has written an absolute gem with this one. I love Homer because of his shy, unsuspecting ways and can see many of my students in him. Dying to prove that there is more to them than we could ever imagine but just not quite sure how to do it. Homer definitely does that through his quest to find out more about Uncle Drake's death. He meets people along his journey that help him find who he is and be proud of that all the while dealing with a dad who seemingly doesn't understand him, a sister who stuffs the animals that have lost their lives on the farm (who is freakin' hilarious by the way), a mom who mother's way too much, and a little brother who I just want to squeeze. The characterization in this book was wonderful and I found myself hearing their voices as I was reading. I am proud to say that this one will be used for many different writing techniques in my classroom next year because Selfors does an amazing job using many of the things in her writing that I struggle with helping my students understand and understand the importance of!

Come visit my blog to see what Suzanne has to say about writing and so much more!! www.randomchalktalk.com
Profile Image for Jan.
800 reviews25 followers
January 31, 2016
I'll admit that the dog on the cover is what made me pick up this book. I'm a sucker for any story that has a dog in it. It didn't hurt that it was on the sale table at Powell's in Portland for $3.98. I definitely got my money's worth with this one because I really enjoyed the story. There's a mystery (what really happened to Homer's uncle Drake?), some hidden treasure to be found, and some very bad people who want to keep Homer from finding it (since they want it for themselves), that all happens when Homer runs away to The City to start on an exciting and also very dangerous adventure. Oh, and the dog, which Homer aptly names Dog, was his uncle Drake's most treasured possession, and is all that his uncle supposedly left him-definitely one of the mysteries to be solved. I loved Dog, the dog, who drools and eats everything he shouldn't, like magazines, and bugs, and sticks, and has no sense of smell, but also an amazing talent that no other dog has. Yes, just loved him. He was quite endearing, slobber and all.

There are two more books in this series that I'm looking very forward to reading. Can't wait to find out where this adventure leads to next.
Profile Image for An EyeYii.
3,423 reviews60 followers
December 7, 2017
Can Homer believe giant Zelda? sweet Lorelei? his sister Gwen dozy on Madame? energetic Mr Twaddle?
Profile Image for Ellaina Locy.
5 reviews
May 7, 2019
So I have read this book twice and I really enjoy it. It only took me a few days to finish so if you like a quick read this is a book for you.It is about this boy named homer who lives on a goat farm in a town called milkydale. When he gets the terrible news that his uncle has been EATEN by a tortoise in the city park he receives his uncles belongings but there seems to only be a pair of shoes.His uncle the great treasure only owned a pair of shoes? But that wasn't all he inherited he also inherited a dog the most droopy dog you have ever seen.this dog wont fit in with the other dogs at the farm.So Homers father decided to do away with it but little did he know this dog would change homers life forever.
Profile Image for Eva Mitnick.
769 reviews27 followers
April 30, 2010
The title of this book, along with the cover art, might lead an unsuspecting reader to think this was one of those goofy books about strange dogs and bad smells, full of broad jokes and gross-out humor.

Actually, Smells Like Dog is a bit harder to pin down than that. There is in fact a smelly dog - named Dog - that drools and eats all manner of revolting objects. Dog does have one highly unlikely and happily redeeming talent, but our hero, young Homer Pudding, doesn't find this out right away. In fact, when Homer's beloved uncle and role model dies and leaves him only Dog, Homer is disappointed and puzzled. Why would his adventurous, treasure-seeking explorer uncle leave him a dog of such dubious quality?

This question, plus Homer's obsession with becoming an adventurer and his sister's equally strong determination to become a famous museum taxidermist, leads the siblings from their goat farm in a small town to the City. There they are ensnared by the evil Madame la Directeur and her minions, who want something Homer has. Luckily, Homer has met a few odd friends along the way - if he can trust them, they just might mean his salvation.

This book has a slightly wistful and almost hangdog tone to it. Homer is a plump and rather sad lad whose thoughts and dreams are never aimed at what is going on around him - his blazing desire to be an explorer is the only vivid thing about him. He is portrayed in a fairly realistic manner, as is most of his family, but the rest of the characters are both eccentric and exaggerated. A spunky 12-year-old girl lives in a hidden nook in a factory surrounded by soup cans; an inventor travels about in a tiny copter disguised as a cloud; and the villains are both outrageous and despicable.
The setting, with a goat farm juxtaposed against the nameless City, adds to the surreal quality. Where does this story take place? Somewhere almost, but not quite, real.

This combination of a not-quite-real feeling and the exaggerated situation and characters reminded me of several books, including The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell. It's not an out-and-out fantasy like Selfor's last book, Fortune's Magic Farm, but her knack for intriguingly bizarre characters is evident in both.

While I wasn't bowled over by this, mainly due to the odd tone, I enjoyed the imaginative adventure and the mild yet quirky humor. "A cloud with eyeballs" was a phrase that cracked me up early on - it's just so weird! I'd recommend this to fans of the books mentioned above and particularly to boys. For grades 4 - 6.
439 reviews59 followers
July 7, 2021
*4.5- I'm really not sure how to write this review. So, I'm writing this in 2021 after rereading for the first time since I was a kid. I do remember enjoying it way more when I was younger, but that is probably because this book is geared toward younger kids. So, just be aware that I'm writing this review as someone who is a little outside of the ideal age demographic. I did like the characters. While I thought that they weren't that complex, and were at times simple, I did like all of them. I thought that the relationships were good, and I'm interested to see where they all go. The plot was good. I thought that there was enough happening at any given time. There weren't any twists that were super twisty, but they go the job done. The villains were very cut and dry, but once again, they did what they needed to do. I think that this book and world just need a little more developing which will hopefully happen in the next few. I do need to say that I feel like this book started off very slow, and it took me a little while to get into it, but this could also be attributed to my age. This is a book for younger kids, so there was no cursing and no sexual content. There was sort of some violence. There was death, but it was never graphic and nothing that a younger kid couldn't handle. I do recommend this book, but I mainly recommend it for younger children. I think that someone younger would just enjoy this book more. They would be more surprised by different events, and the humor is more geared toward a younger audience. However, I do think that older readers could enjoy this book as a light and quick read. I will be continuing on in this series because I would like to finish it off and see where everything goes.
Profile Image for Maclean H.
16 reviews1 follower
December 7, 2012
Smells Like Dog. This book blew my mind it have such suspensful chapters that I felt like I was in the book because the author added so many details to the character that I thought I was there. I was very suprised when Hommer found a friend, but soon to be his enemy. The thing that really astounded me was when Hommer went out to the city because he had to find his dog Dog because the city for farmers is not a match in this book.I was not really enjoying the part when Dog foung out he could not smell and I think that is very sad because smell to a dog is like love for people.
Profile Image for Jenny Lloyd.
40 reviews
April 29, 2021
Our family loves Suzanne Selfors! This is the second time I’ve read this book to my now 10-year-olds. They were a little too young the first time (kindergarten), so listened with fresh ears during the second run. They didn’t want to put it down and can’t wait to (re-)start book 2. One of my guys was so excited that he drew 50-some illustrations of the action as we read. This was amazing because it’s very hard to get him to slow down and focus on material being read aloud to him (a very imaginative and movement-oriented kid).
21 reviews
January 22, 2014
Audience: first graders

We are going to read a story about a boy named Homer that goes on an adventure. Homer has never been outside of his hometown of Milkydale and he is nervous and excited. Have any of you every been nervous to go to a new place? Have you ever been somewhere all by yourself? Well just like you, Homer goes on exciting adventure that has surprises along the way. Let's find out how Homer's journey begins and ends in the reading adventure, Smells Like Dog.
October 19, 2016
I loved this book. I thought it was the best book ever and I recommend it to all of you. Summary: homer puttings grandfather has died and he had a dog. The dog was passed down to homer and he see's that the dog has a tag that said "L.O.S.T". So homer go's on a journey to find out why the collar said that. JOSH TAYLOR
Profile Image for Kalli Kroeker.
13 reviews5 followers
September 5, 2017
This was a great mystery book! It took me a few chapters until I really got into it, but once I was into it, it turned out to be one of my favorite books!
January 7, 2023
Smells Like Dog is a wonderful book by Suzanne Selfors, it is a part of an action packed, mysterious first book to the trilogy. It starts off introducing us to Homer Pudding, the main character of the book. He finds out his uncle died due to a man eating tortoise, the law firm delivers a dog with a coin on it. He travels to the city to find out his uncle’s stuff, and what the coin means. On his trip he meets a girl named Lorelei, they travel the city, trying to find a way to get into the evil lair of Madame la director. When Homer and Lorelei got kidnapped by some of Homer’s uncle’s friends. Lorelei decided to steal Dog and go back to the lair, because she was working for Madame! Madame was looking through the uncle's stolen items to find the map of Rumpold Smeller the pirate, but Dog sniffed it out. The man-eating tortoise ate the treasure map, and Madame was put in jail. Homer got the map back and his uncle’s friends said to keep it safe. It ends with Homer and Dog getting home and seeing his dad.

The main idea of the book is Dog and the coin, because if Homer didn’t get the coin he wouldn’t go to the city, and if he didn’t get dog, he wouldn’t have been able to find Rumpold’s map. Dog helps Homer grow to become more of a treasure hunter like he had always wanted. The coin introduced Homer to the secret society of L.O.S.T. On pages 268 and 269 is when Homer figures out Dog can smell treasure, “‘You can’t smell regular things, can you?’ Homer whispered. ‘ but you can smell…You can smell lost treasures.” The other central idea is the coin, the L.O.S.T. coin. If Dog didn’t come with the coin around his collar, Homer wouldn’t have met Ajitabh or Zelda. And if he hadn’t met them, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to be a member of the L.O.S.T. secret society.

This is one of my favorite books, because it has enough mystery and a great plot. A person who likes treasure hunt books, or mysterious action books would love this book. The book is a great fiction, but it is not quite believable, like Dog, who names their dog, Dog? Although some parts of this book are not great, there are many good parts of the book.This book sets up the other 2 books in the trilogy very well. It ends with a cliffhanger so you have to read the other 2 books. It also had a plot twist in my opinion, because when we first meet Ajitabh he seems like a bad guy, but he ends up being very cheerful, and nice. Overall, it is a good book, and a great trilogy starter.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
8 reviews
April 20, 2020
Smells Like Dog is a mystery book about a young boy named Homer whose dream is to become a treasure hunter, just like his uncle. After his uncle's sudden and mysterious death, the only thing that was left to Homer was his uncle's dog. However, a secret coin found hidden in the dog's collar leads Homer on an adventure to find out the importance of the coin and what really happened to his uncle. I LOVED this book! This is a WOW book because it is unpredictable, enthralling, and has precious moments throughout that made me smile. Because it is a longer chapter book, I would read this book with a 4th or 5th grade class.

Homer loves to collect and analyze treasure maps, and hopes to one day follow one. I think it could be fun for students to make their own treasure maps, maybe in groups. These could be maps of the school, of the playground, of the classroom, etc. Even better if the kids can actually hide treasure and use each other's maps to go on quests! This activity can help students work on their map and diagram skills, allowing for integration with science and social studies.

This book features a secret society of treasure hunters, with rules and oaths that the members have to take in order to join. This could be used as inspiration for a "secret society" within the classroom. As a class, we could work together to come up with a name for our society and rules that are important to us. For example, we could all take an oath to be good listeners and to support each other's learning every day. This could be a fun variation of a classroom contract that includes students in decision making and ties us together in a "secret society".
Profile Image for Cathy Austin.
684 reviews27 followers
July 4, 2018
Absolutely delightful, must read the other books in this series.
Can't help but fall in love with sad sack Homer Pudding, a rather chubby treasure hunting obsessed 12 year old who lives on a goat farm with his younger brother and 15 year old know it all sister. His mom is understanding, his dad kind of no nonsense. You know, the usual kind of family dynamic found in a lot of books that makes for so much fun as the story/stories evolve.
Homer inherits his recently deceased treasure hunter uncle's dog, a rather floppy eared short legged flatulent dog with no sense of smell and a special coin that suddenly gains Homer a lot of unwanted attention.
An adventure ensues, and, boy, what an adventure! (A cloud copter makes an appearance!)
So many topical themes explored in a jaunty narrative: friendship, trust, loneliness, loyalty, kindness, familial love and belief in oneself.
Homer is a wonderful character and Dog is a hoot. Can't wait to read the next book!
Ideal read for both boys and girls in middle reader range.
Profile Image for Rachel.
282 reviews1 follower
November 23, 2016
I greatly enjoyed this book. For such a lengthy book, it moved quickly, as there was plenty of action to keep the plot going forward. I believed Homer's accidental leap into the world of treasure hunters and the way that many of the characters in the book were not what they initially seemed. Homer was a slightly hapless, but likable, protagonist, and I often found myself rooting for him and his trusty companion, Dog.

There were quite a few incidents for which the reader needs to suspend disbelief, and I was on board with many of them, but there were others which I thought went a bit too far. Without giving too much away, the ending is a prime example.

However, overall, I did enjoy the book and would be willing to read the subsequent books in the series.
Profile Image for Christine Rains.
Author 59 books236 followers
August 24, 2018
Homer Pudding wants to be a treasure hunter like his uncle but his father is determined to make him a goat farmer. When his uncle dies and leaves Homer a dog who can't smell, Homer finds a strange coin and seeks to find out what it is. His little town doesn't hold any answers, so he travels to The City with his older sister Gwendolyn and Dog on an adventure that might start his career as a treasure hunter or crush his dreams.

This is a fantastic children's adventure mystery. I read it with my 8 year old son, and he got very attached to Dog. There are some points where it is too long for a third grader, but the overall story was fantastic. It's funny, quirky, and suspenseful. Love the cast of characters. I'm happy to have already found the second book at the local library.
5 reviews
May 1, 2018
This book is pretty good. When i read it, it wasn't what i expected it to be but it was still good. I love the dog in this book and how droopy everyone thinks he is. The first reaction to this dog is funny. This book reminds me of the underneath because theres a hound dog in that book and there both droopy dogs. I would recommend this book to people who like treasure hunting adventures and the dog is the sidekick.

5 reviews3 followers
December 4, 2019
Favorite character: Mr. T. Snooty and Mr. C. Snooty.
Why: They were hilarious and their fights were ridiculous. The letter, in the end, was also VERY funny.
What surprised me the most: Dog was Uncle Drake's most prized possession. I thought it was the coin until I really thought about it. Then I realized that it was Dog.
Would I change the ending: No I would not.
Why not: I think that it was very creative and it was a cliff hanger so it hooks the reader on wanting to get the sequel.
Profile Image for Anthony.
5,087 reviews25 followers
May 5, 2020
Homer Pudding lives on a goat farm with his family, but he dreams of becoming a great treasure hunter like his uncle Drake. When Drake meets his end under suspicious circumstances, he leaves Homer a dog with no sense of smell, and a coin with the letters L.O.S.T. on it. This leads Homer on a quest to solve the mystery of the coin, and find out the truth of what really happened to his uncle Drake.
12 reviews
July 12, 2017
I thought this book was a very good example of a fantasy book. My favorite part was about the lair and that the museum director was actually a crock.

The problem in book was that Drake putting got eaten by a giant tortoise but that's not true and they fix the problem by finding out what the coin meant

I would recommend this book because if you like the treasure hunt this is good a good example.
Profile Image for Erin.
101 reviews2 followers
November 13, 2017
This book was such an over-the-top ridiculous -- and I mean that in the best way possible. Hound dog with big floppy ears who can't smell anything but...well, I'll leave you to read about it. But I think this is a valuable story about how sometimes you don't realize how special someone is and to always keep an open mind about others.
Profile Image for claire.
8 reviews
January 14, 2023
I was literally so obsessed with this book in 5th grade. Like I felt it in my bonessss. Like I know it’s technically written for elementary-middle school children but idc it’s so entertaining for like no reason???? It has a captivating story (that can be a little on the side, but no dogs die!) and has interesting characters. Also dog is such a mood, love him!
Profile Image for Karla Martinsen.
117 reviews2 followers
April 7, 2020
A perfect story for a kid that likes adventure stories, and who wouldn't like a cloud-copter, a dog that can't smell but is your best friend, secret passages and so much more. I wish I still had some young grandchildren to hand it over to!
1 review
November 24, 2020
Smells like Dog is written by Suzanne Selfors. It is kind of weird book because the owner of the museum wants a L.O.S.T. coin and threatens to kill a dog. It is a great book for kids because it has a lesson to never give up.
1 review
November 24, 2020
Smells like Dog is written by Suzanne Selfors. It is kind of weird book because the owner of the museum wants a L.O.S.T. coin and threatens to kill a dog. It is a great book for kids because it has a lesson to never give up.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 250 reviews

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