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The Dog that Saved the World (Cup)

Phil Earle

Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Published by Barrington Stoke – 4th March 2021

Can you believe it’s 25 years since Euro ’96 and I’ve only just realised that the lyric in Baddiel and Skinner’s 3 Lions is ‘Jules Rimet still gleaming’…not ‘jewels remain still gleaming!’

Football, family and a faithful four-legged friend, The Dog Who Saved the World (Cup) is a clever reimagining of the story of Pickles, the dog who found the Jules Riment World Cup Trophy – stolen from an exhiition in London in 1966.

Our four-legged friend Pickles and his owner Elsie are football fanatics, so when Elsie’s team win a competition to play in a half-time match at the World Cup Final, they’re in footie heaven!

But life off the field is tough. Elsie’s mum left when she was a baby and money is tight as it is, but when dad loses his job, the team of 3 find themselves homeless and are forced to move into temporary accommodation. Their whole lives crammed into a couple of bin bags, they are plagued by noise and graffiti.

At an all time low, the big match is the only thing Elsie has left to cling onto, so when disaster strikes, Pickles knows what he has to do; it’s up to him to save the World (Cup)

This is a story about so much more than football and although it tackles hard-hitting issues of poverty and poor housing, it’s so uplifting. It teaches us that love makes you the richest person in the world, no matter how poor you are.

Teamwork makes the dream work and Pickles, Elsie & dad are a winning team. The story is narrated by Pickles (who sees himself as manager, coach and captain of this footballing family!) His dog’s eye view of the world is so entertaining. He’s such a witty and observant character – wise beyond his dog years! He’s like a human trapped in a dog’s body and he looks out for both Elsie and dad – they don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing!

As parents, we sheild our our children from our own struggles as much as we can and despite being at the depths of despair, dad’s character doesn’t pity himself and somehow finds the strength to smile in the face of adversity, putting a positive spin on things for Elsie.

Anyone of us could fall on hard times, whether it be due to redundancy, illness or accident, but there are some things that money can’t buy and when we have each other we have everything.

With more than a hat-trick of titles in the back of the net for Barrington Stoke already, Phil Earle is one of their star players. They’re a dream-team for me and have scored yet another winner with The Dog Who Saved the World Cup.

Visit the Barrington Stoke website here to read the first chapter of these titles and order.

Read my review of Albert Johnson & the Buns of Steel here.

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