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Home » Middle Grade

Dog Town

By Luīze Pastore, illustrated by Reinis Pētersons, translated from the Latvian by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini

12 April 2018

£6.99 buy here

For ages 8-12s

'a delightful doggy adventure' Alex O’ConnellChildren's Book of the Week, the Times

'The real world and magic mix in a story that will wriggle its way into children’s imaginations and stay there for a long time.' Andrea Reece, Lovereading4Kids

'Dog Town by Latvian author Luīze Pastore is a gem of a book: based on a local legend from Riga, it is a witty and heart-warming story touching on loneliness, friendship and the importance of community and preserving neighbourhoods. The amusing black and while illustrations by Reinis Pētersons add to its charm together with an excellent translation from Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini.' Outside In World

'Dog Town is a charming middle-grade adventure, full of plot surprises, wisdom and quirky humour – it’s Pastore’s debut in English, and I hope there’ll be a lot more to come.' Daniel Hahn

Jacob Bird lives in Riga, the capital of Latvia, with his father. Jacob loves maps like his dad, and is fascinated by the legend which warns that no one must say 'Riga is ready' or the river will flood the town, tall ships will sail down the main street, and building the city will have to start all over again.

One day Jacob mutters the fateful words. But all that happens is he is sent to live for the summer with his grumpy cousin Mimi and Uncle Eagle, because his dad is too busy to look after him. But strange things are afoot in the run-down Maskatchaka district of Riga, where Jacob now has to live. Evil Skyler Scraper’s scheme to transform it into a concrete jungle is being fought tooth and paw by the stray dogs, lead by their fierce commander Boss, his mate Bianca and their twin puppies. Jacob is astonished when Boss starts to talk to him, but hurt when Mimi doesn’t want him to join their fight against Skyler. Then Bianca goes missing and Jacob’s maps may be the only thing that can bring her home and save the talking dogs of Maskatchka. 

Originally published in Latvian as Maskačkas stāsts (A Tale of the Maskachka District) in 2013, this heart-warming novel tells the story of Jacob Bird, who is fighting to save a run-down but characterful area of his hometown of Riga from developers, with the help of the district’s very own gang of talking dogs.

The book won The Annual Latvian Literature Prize for The Best Children’s Book 2014, and was included in a Latvian Children’s Jury list. Latvian National Radio has created a radio play version, and it is also currently being made into an animation film. 

‘We are so delighted to be publishing this wonderful story based on an intriguing local myth,’ said Firefly publisher Penny Thomas. ‘There are many fantastic children’s stories from around the world to be translated into English and enrich our literature, and Firefly is very proud to play a part in this by publishing Dog Town.

‘The English publication has been made possible by the support of the Latvian Writers Union and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia and we are enormously grateful to them and to Neputns for this opportunity.’

And author Luīze Pastore said: ‘It is very exciting to have my book appear on the English book world map along with all the wonderful titles of Firefly Press. It is going to be a significant adventure for the Latvian and Russian speaking dogs of Riga to travel all the way to the hearts of children across our borders.