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Book Review: The Secret Adventures of Rolo

I recently connected with local author here in Wiltshire, Debi Evans, via a Lockdown Facebook group. Debi has been sharing afternoon readings from her children’s books with the gorgeous Rolo Dog. Debi very kindly sent me a copy of her fabulous books to read and review. So without further ado, I’m pleased to be sharing my book review of The Secret Adventures of Rolo. This is book 1 of the children’s series, there are 5 books published so far.

Book Cover Notes

Rolo is a rescued dog. When he settles in his new home he discovers that he is ‘the chosen one’; whatever that might mean! The little Jack Russell embarks upon an incredible secret life by night when he undertakes time travel adventures. Rolo pops up during moments in history and influences events.

He also writes a Dog Blog called ‘According to Rolo’ and this runs parallel to his secret adventures, known as his ‘Understory’ for reasons which will be explained…

Rolo also shares countryside wisdom throughout the year which he learns as he explores the forest at the bottom of his garden. All of this completely unbeknown to his owners!

book review The secret adventures of rolo
Touring Tales Book Review – Book 1

My Thoughts

I first came across Rolo Dog on Facebook, quietly sitting with author Debi Evans (also known as smiley lady) sharing afternoon live book readings. What a lovely idea and great for children to sit and listen to during lockdown. I was delighted to chat with Debi Evans and she kindly sent me copies of The Secret Adventures of Rolo to read and review. There are 5 Secret Adventure books and a colouring book in the series.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Rolo, the Jack Russell Terrier, who has been collected from the Dogs Trust by a smiley lady and her son, the floppy haired boy, and taken to his forever home. Rolo shares his thoughts on his new home, the strange things at the bottom of the garden and something odd under the decking.

Soon Rolo has settled into his new home and is ready for some adventure. Whilst smiley lady and floppy haired boy are asleep, Rolo sneaks out of the house and becomes a secret messenger. He meets Athelstan, a gatekeeper of a time tunnel under a special tree, who assigns Rolo very important tasks back in time. Rolo is sent to discover lots of significant historical events, and delivers important messages to the people of that time. From the English civil war to great fires and the blitz of London.

This book was such a delight to read. Debi’s writing style gives Rolo a chatty, cheeky character which all pet owners will relate to. Although aimed at 8-12 year olds this can also be enjoyed by adults. This would make a great bedtime story book for parents with children. Each chapter is a new adventure, with lots of fascinating facts and historical events. I understand Rolo’s adventure books are a big hit with teachers and is often read as a classroom read.

Throughout the book there are illustrations, provided by Chantal Bourgonje, which bring the stories to life. This really helps the reader to visualise where Rolo is and what he’s seeing on his adventures.

Rolo provides plenty of fun and entertainment via his dog blog, which he writes on the floppy haired boy’s laptop when he’s not at home. Life as a Jack Russell is very busy and there’s always things to do, such as chasing the pesky next door cat out of his garden. Or sniffing out whatever it is hiding under the garden decking. And sometimes smiley lady takes him out in the car for an exciting trip…

‘The highlight of this particular walk was seeing the sea for the first time – wow was it scary! I ran at it and it roared and came towards me and I barked at it and it went back again. I spent an hour doing this and I wouldn’t let it get the better of me. I wasn’t really scared but started to lose my woof.’

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Rolo is a cheeky, cheerful character that children will love. Perfect for children in the 8-12 year age range. Highly recommend that parents join in too, you’ll learn some interesting facts about history I bet you never knew. Every day’s a school day right.

Where to Buy

Amazon UK | Debi Evans Website

Book Review The Secret Adventures of Rolo
Book Cover The Secret Adventures of Rolo – Book 1

About the Author

Debi Evans’ children are grown up and so to fill the void she rescued a Jack Russell from Dog’s Trust, Newbury and he became my ‘4th child’. This sparky little dog with a huge personality is Debi’s inspiration for ‘The Secret Adventures of Rolo’, alongside her love of history, reading, creative writing and a desire to share her enthusiasm with primary school age children. It has been a bonus to discover that adults enjoy reading about Rolo’s historic encounters, just as much as 7-12 year olds. Debi is also an accredited Women’s Institute (WI) speaker.

The author has also spent many years visiting primary schools all over the UK, and as far away as the Middle East, China, Indonesia, and USA, talking about her books and inspiring children to evolve their own creative writing.  The secret behind the fantasy adventure success is using historic fact woven with lively imagination and crafted into a believable story, narrated by Rolo himself, aided by dragons! 

Where to find Debi Online

Website | Facebook (Rolo) | Twitter

Further book info
  • Published Date: 1 January 2014
  • Publisher: Debi Evans
  • Page Count: 288
  • ISBN:978-0992825706

Gorgeous Emma Bridgewater mugs for Dog Lovers.

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