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THE DOGS has now sold to the USA, the UK, Canada (English), Canada (Quebec), Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Israel, Denmark, Poland, and Romania
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Summer Reading Choice
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal, UK, and the Red Maple Award, Canada
ABOUT THE DOGS
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch something moving by the barn. When I look, it disappears.
Wait. There it is again, at the cornfield. Some movement, some thing.
Mom and I have been on the run for years.
Every time he catches up with us, we move
to a new place and start over.
But this place is different.
This place is full of secrets.
And they won’t leave me alone.
Download the Discussion Guide for The Dogs
PRAISE FOR THE DOGS
"Allan Stratton’s psychological thriller does more than entertain, it enlightens. Along with the intricate and truly creepy horror elements, Stratton creates a nuanced exploration of abuse and its long-lasting repercussions. Vivid, realistic characters and dialogue trumpet the author’s other talent as a playwright, even as he blurs the line between what is real and what is imagined."
a Quill and Quire Book of the Year
"An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller… dark, atmospheric and clever… vivid, authentic dialogue and the tightly designed scenes… insightful and affecting...This is an accomplished, gripping and thoughtful story, whose dramatic ending delivers on every level."
The Guardian, UK
"Stratton masterfully constructs a creepy gothic setting…A monstrous, stalking father, unhinging nightmares, a ghostly boy, wild dogs, and a moldy basement add creepy deliciousness to a murder mystery and tale of a boy who, in trying to solve a mystery, may just discover what a loving family might be. An engrossing blend of murder mystery and family story."
Kirkus Review (starred review)
"What would it be like if the most frightening thing in your world lay at the heart of your own family?
Stratton imagines this horror fully and convincingly."
Quill and Quire (starred review)
"Stratton weaves an intricate tale of love, loyalty, and deception, then blurs the lines between fact and fiction to underscore the mental chaos that Cameron’s unstable upbringing has created. A dark and disturbing narrative of family dysfunction, The Dogs is at its core a coming of age tale that describes the mental anguish of revisiting past abuse. Stratton plays with reader expectations by reappropriating horror clichés and anchoring them in a nuanced plot with multi-dimentional characters. A small town horror with heart, The Dogs pokes relentlessly into the blackest corners of the psyche to reveal the secrets families keep for those they love."
National Reading Campaign
"It was 2:30 a.m. when I finished reading The Dogs — a book I couldn’t put down, a real page-turner – and got ready for bed, fully expecting to toss and turn, fending off the nightmares that regularly beset Cameron Weaver, the novel’s young protagonist. But I was lucky. No bad dreams. The book, however, stayed with me for days, author Allan Stratton having created an unsettled aura the likes of which Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King routinely built into their work, too… Secrets abound and it takes some truly tense and psychologically thrilling scenes before the truth comes out… Stratton’s depiction of setting and characters is masterful, and his ability to create tension and keep readers on edge is equally strong"
The Montreal Gazette
"There’s fear aplenty in Allan Stratton’s The Dogs, and a tantalizingly uncertain element of the supernatural… Refreshingly like an old-fashioned mystery, but the passion and terror underlying (our hero's) own family give it emotional complexity and suspense."
"One knows Allan Stratton as the author of the remarkable story of the fate of a teenage girl in AIDS ravaged Africa (Chanda’s Secrets). One discovers he is also gifted at playing with reality and illusion in this addictive and convincing thriller."
Le Figaro Littéraire
"Stratton has artfully co-opted the thriller genre to subtly examine the far-reaching, unexpected consequences of rage and abuse. The Dogs provides a disturbingly insightful portrait of the darkest elements of human nature. For those inclined to ask difficult questions, it is irresistible.."
CM Magazine (4/4*)
"From the first page Allan Stratton creates an atmosphere of terror and danger that does not let up till the end. Written in the first person, the novel pulls the reader in so that every fear Cameron feels is theirs, and the threat of violence and death tangible. Cameron is a likeable hero: full of self-doubt and vulnerability he is also determined to solve the mystery that haunts the house, even when his own sanity is in question. This book deserves to be a hit with not just teen readers but also with anyone who enjoys a good ghostly thriller."
We Love This Book Magazine (division of The Bookseller), UK
"The Dogs is engrossing as a novel of suspense, a 'cold case' detective story, and an exploration of the topical themes of bullying and family violence. Both the dedication and the story challenge the 'bad stepfather' stereotype and acknowledge the sad fact that some biological fathers are capable of killing their children… Recommended for secondary schools, this novel is memorable."
"The Dogs is a fast-paced psychological thriller with a sympathetic main character… Readers will find the supernatural insinuations and elements terrifying; wrapped up in a mystery that the boy must solve, they will begin to hope that they are real — as they are preferable to the possibility that Cameron is losing his mind. A shocking ending and an unexpected visit from the titular beasts make this novel a compelling choice, and one that reluctant readers will also find appealing."
School Library Journal
"It's about ghosts and terrifying danger and going mad all at once. I didn't know what was real and what
was imagined until the very last page. I loved it."
Melvin Burgess, Carnegie Medal winner, Junk
"Award-winning Canadian author Allan Stratton's new book is a haunting supernatural thriller that will keep
readers turning pages well into the small hours. Pacy, stylish and really very creepy indeed."
Dad.info UK, (2015's Five Best Books To Look Out For)
"Brilliant, page-turbing and eerie. Had me guessing to the very end."
Joseph Delaney, The Last Apprentice series
"A great book for readers who enjoy a good ghostly thriller."
Canlit for Kids (Highly Recommended)
"This creepy tale has all the elements of a thrilling story. Satisfying and exciting read."
Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller, UK
"The Dogs will keep readers nervous and guessing to the very end... A truly eerie and unsettling story."
"A book you'll read and be unlikely to forget. Extremely fast paced, intriguing read."
Askews & Holts Library Service
"In this astonishing tale, both harrowing and hopeful, Stratton winds twin tales of abuse and madness."
Garry Schmidt, Newbery Honor Book, The Wednesday Wars
"There's packs of intrigue and emotion in this ghostly detective story. A brilliant bark at the moon mystery."
Keith Gray, Ostrich Boys
"This is a darkly suspenseful thriller blurring the lines between reality and imagination, keeping you guessing and keeping you awake long into the night listening out for the sound of barking."
The Scotsman, UK
W.H. SMITH PARIS, PICK OF THE WEEK
THE RESURRECTION OF MARY MABEL MCTAVISH
STEPHEN LEACOCK MEDAL FOR HUMOUR, LONGLIST
Published by Dundurn Press
Mary Mabel An adult comic novel set in the 1930s about a young woman who becomes a Hollywood star after 'resurrecting' a kid electrocuted at a revival meeting. Jack Warner, J. Edgar Hoover, W.R. Hearst and the Rockettes round out a cast of Ponzi promoters, Bolshevik hoboes, tent revivalists, and double-dealing social climbers in a fast-paced tale that satirizes the religious right, media manipulation, celebrity and greed.
"Stratton’s expertise at black comedy is very much in evidence in this novel. His ability to make extraordinary events seem somehow plausible, combined with his mastery of wit and language, leaves us shaking our heads at one moment, and laughing out loud the next. Like many a modern humourists, Stratton’s real talent lies in his honest – and sometimes grisly – depictions of human foibles, coupled with a recognition of how easy it is to slip over to the dark side."
Quill and Quire
"Like some of the great comic novels -- Catch-22, for example, or M*A*S*H* -- this one gets its humour from its characters… This is a stylishly written, very funny historical that has some smart things to say about the mass media, about manufactured phenomena, and about religious nogoodniks."
“A glorious romp of a tale featuring a chorus line of characters high-kicking their way across the stage. Religious flimflammery, movie moguls, Hollywood hustlers and dust bowl dreams have never been so fun.”
Will Ferguson, Giller Award winning author of 419.
"If Flannery O'Connor had one day slathered on the pancake, decided never again to say "excuse me," and set out to write a biography of Aimee Semple McPherson, she might have come up with The Resurrection of of Mary Mabel McTavish. Two-bit evangelists, legendary press barons, perfidious headmistresses, and adolescent miracle workers rampage through Allan Stratton's new novel, a Southern Ontario gothic that crackles with wicked fun. It's hilarious and it's evil: vintage Stratton."
Bill Richardson (Stephen Leacock Award winner for Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast)
"Stratton's sparkling story is a frolic, full of mischief and mayhem… A tongue in cheek romp from beginning to end, a chronicle complete with clever one-liners, hilarious sendups and a cast of characters reminiscent of Charles Dickens at his exhuberant best."
The London Free Press
"Stratton's comedic examination of celebrity in a bygone era shows that media frenzies are in no way a uniquely modern phenomenon, nor is the way the people at the center of these frenzies are often helpless to prevent their public images from being molded to suit the great and powerful, the ambitious and the brazen opportunists. As the plot weaves back and forth across Canada and America, celebrities from Hoover to Hearst are skewered, but at no point does the book lose sight of its essential good nature or that of its protagonist."
"Allan Stratton obviously had big fun writing this Depression-set story about a charismatic (maybe) healer… In the process of telling his story, Stratton rips into every social organization he can think of: organized religion, naturally, the press, celebrity culture, private schools. Hollywood gets a savage skewering when William Randolph Hearst tries to get Jack Warner to make a movie of Mary Mabel's life… It's all pretty entertaining. And Mary Mabel is a great character. Inspired by visions of her dead mom, she can be a bit batty, but she's smart enough not to believe everything she's told and wise enough to be wary of the fame coming her way."
CURSE OF THE DREAM WITCH
WINNER OF 2014 CANADIAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION BEST BOOK FOR CHILDREN AWARD
2014 FOREST OF READING "SILVER BIRCH" AWARD HONOUR BOOK
NOMINATED FOR THE 2014 CANADIAN CHILDREN'S BOOK CENTRE MONICA HUGHES AWARD FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
NOMINATED FOR THE 2015 ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARD
(ALBERTA STUDENTS CHOICE)
NOMINATED FOR THE 2015 RED CEDAR AWARD (BC STUDENT'S CHOICE)
FANTASTIC BOOK AWARDS, UK (CURRENT NOMINEE)
2015 DIAMOND WILLOW AWARD (NOMINEE)
Published by Scholastic Canada and Faber and Faber, UK
Coming soon to France from Bayard Jeunesse and
China from the Beijing Publishing Group
ALLAN STRATTON READS FROM "CURSE OF THE DREAM WITCH"
It is the age of the Great Dread. The Dream Witch wants the heart of Princess Olivia. Until she has it, none of the kingdom's children are safe, including Milo, a peasant boy trapped in the Dream Witch's underground lair. Join Milo, Princess Olivia and a curious talking mouse on an epic adventure as they battle man-eating moles, magical parchments and a carpet of bats...
"Curse of the Dream Witch is a cautionary tale that illustrates that "Dreams can become nightmares" with Allan Stratton's imagery so visual that the nightmare is almost tangible. … In the true spirit of folktales and fairy tales, (it) does more than teach about perseverance and self-respect and caring for others it entertains with humour (and) irreverence."
Can Lit for Little Canadians
"Details such as the Witch’s flying meat cleaver, a tongue carpet, batwing paper, and spice grinders used as prison cells, make this book certain to be endearing to children and youth. - University of Manitoba 5/5 Deweys!"
The Misbehavin’ Librarian
"Allan Stratton’s novel is a fabulous romp through a fairytale kingdom with all the trimmings."
The Very Best Books
"A fast paced plot, full of humour, wonder and at times despair. Curse of the Dream Witch has pace and energy and some vivid images add to the reader's enjoyment."
The School Librarian (UK)
"An imaginative story with a strong element of friendship between a motley cast of characters…Together with her friends, Princess Olivia set off on a fantastical adventure, compelling told in this gripping story."
Parents in Touch (UK)
"A read-aloud tale for young and old, with plenty of adventure and excitement to keep all readers on the edge of their seat"
Canadian Library Association
"A classic timeless fairy tale."
Canadian Library Association Award - Jury Chair Jaclyn McLean
The Book Bag (UK)
THE GRAVE ROBBER'S APPRENTICE
CANADIAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION BOOK OF THE YEAR FOR CHILDREN AWARD,
NOMINATED FOR THE 2012 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD
NOMINATED FOR THE SILVER BIRCH AWARD
NOMINATED FOR THE RUTH AND SYLVIA SCHWARTZ CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD
NOMINATED FOR THE MANITOBA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARD
ONTARIO LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S BEST BETS FOR MIDDLE GRADE FICTION LIST
A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION
BEST BOOKS 2012 (STARRED), CANADIAN CHILDREN'S BOOK CENTER
ALA BOOKLIST REVIEW (STARRED)
DIAMOND WILLOW AWARD: SASKATCHEWAN STUDENT CHOICE AWARD
RED CEDAR NOMINEE (BCLA, STUDENT'S CHOICE)
Cover Illustration by Jim Kay
Faber & Faber (Britain), 2012
"Allan Stratton’s The Grave Robber’s Apprentice is perfect for 8+. Fans of Philip Pullman’s Clockwork and Ken Oppel will delight in Stratton’s wit and zest, and his jokes, twists, ghosts, wolves, prophecies and gothic tropes"
The Times of London (Children's Book of the Week)
"Stratton tells it all in language as rollicking as a song, with almost as many amusing moments as there are heart-stopping ones."
Booklist (starred review)
"Delightful... Readers who like their fairy tales packed with action and happy endings will want to add this to their collections."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The Grave Robber's Apprentice is (a) rollicking adventure tale, a fast-paced story with a couple of engaging heroes."
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
"A classic adventure story... This clever tale hits all the right notes ... A fast-paced, entertaining historical fantasy."
Quill and Quire (starred review)
"A playfully dramatic adventure with swashbuckling kids, mountain hermits, avalanche sledding and circus bears... Clever and funny... fresh and cheeky."
"Highly original... sublime... Sure to become a Canadian classic of the genre."
CM Magazine (4 stars out of 4)
"Bursting with breakneck action, daring quests, and heart-stopping near misses,
The Grave Robber's Apprentice is an exhilarating adventure full of humor and heart."
Joseph Delaney, author of the Last Apprentice series
"A rollicking and enchanting fairy tale for the 21st century."
Kenneth Oppel, author of the Airborn trilogy and the Silverwing Saga
"Stratton is a master at his craft, and he's given this story a heart of gold."
Arthur Slade, author of The Hunchback Assignments series
"A fun read."
School Library Journal
"A rip-roaring fantasy adventure ... Clever and funny ... Will take its place among other beloved children's classics."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Weaving together themes from Shakespeare, Greek mythology and traditional fairytales, the book takes us on a rollicking adventure ... This self-consciously tall tale celebrates the joys of storytelling, theatre and illusion-making, and makes for a hugely entertaining read."
Stella Maden, Carousel Magazine, UK
"Including an array of enigmatic, endearing and hilarious characters (and a couple of menacing and rather unsettling ones thrown in for good measure), Stratton has created a cast worthy of both farcical comedy and terrible tragedy. Hans and Angela are instantly likeable characters that can be rooted for throughout. Borrowing heavily throughout from various Shakespeare plays (including mistaken identities, a faked death, shipwrecks, lost babies, powerful prophecies and even exits pursued by bears) what seems at first glance to be a fairly simplistic though enjoyable fairy-tale romp becomes a multi faceted story with layers of suggestive references that foreshadow events to come within the novel. A highly entertaining read and a cracking, madcap adventure."
We Love This Book, UK
"An exciting fairytale full of daring quests and magical adventure."
TBK Mag, UK
How the North American cover of The Grave Robber's Apprentice developed...
LIFE, ABOVE ALL
Adapted from the international best-seller Chanda's Secrets
LIFE, ABOVE ALL IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY!
PURCHASE THE BLU-RAY + DVD COMBO which includes a "Making of Life, Above All"
special feature shot on set at Elandsdorn, South Africa, with interviews with Allan, the director,
producer, screenwriter and cast, and a lot of off-camera action!
Watch the post-screening Q&A with Allan, director Oliver Schmitz and Screenwriter Dennis Foon
TIFF 2010: Life, Above All from IONCINEMA.com