Book Details




Roddy Doyle


Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

29th January 2015

Author's Website



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Roddy Doyle

Lovereading - Year 7 (age 11-12)

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Julia Eccleshare's comment

One of our Books of the Year 2014   A profound story about the effect of despair on society is touched with magic and humour by best-selling Roddy Doyle. When a black dog comes out of the clouds and settles itself in Dublin everyone’s family is affected in one way or another. For Gloria and her brother Raymond it brings their Uncle Ben to stay when his business goes bust. What can the children - and all the other children in Dublin – do to chase the black dog away? After a wonderful night-time adventure through Dublin the children enlist the help of the animals in the zoo to chase is black dog away forever.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Adi Mehta, age 8 - 'This exciting novel of a story has absorbed me into it...Read it, trust me you won’t be sorry.' Read full review >
  • Sam Harper, age 10 - 'Brilliant is a comical, quirky story which never quite leads where you expect it to.  It's full of crazy characters and quick-fire sarcasm.  Brilliantly funny!' Read full review >
  • Adam Graham, age 10 - 'I would recommend the fantastic book to anyone who loves action packed, thrill seeking and stupendously good books, as this is one of those fantastic, one-of-a kind books!'Read full review >
  • Charlotte Rosevear, age 10 - 'Brilliant IS Brilliant!' Read full review >
  • Jemma Rubens, age 10 - 'This brilliant book is a real page-turner and I just could not put it down.' Read full review >
  • Ben Brown, age 10 - 'A brilliant story about chasing the black dog of depression around Dublin. It’s not depressing, it’s got talking animals and is just very funny and BRILLIANT.' Read full review >
  • Charlie Upchurch, age 10  - 'Brilliant is an amazing book that couldn’t get any better. It's brilliant!' Read full review >
  • Alice East, age 9 - 'Brilliant is a brilliant book for children - it is about a black dog who makes everyone in Dublin City depressed!' Read full review >
  • Sidney Greenslade, age 10 - 'An exciting and funny story following the brave children of Dublin as they set out to save their families from the Black Dog. Thoroughly enjoyable.' Read full review >
  • Jacob Tomlin, age 11 - 'With talking seagulls and a meerkat called Kevin, this romp through the streets of Dublin has it all! Roddy Doyle at his 'Brilliant' best.' Read full review >
  • James Harrison, age 10 - 'This is a really brilliant book. Brilliant characters, brilliant idea, brilliantly written...Just brilliant! It has the signature Roddy Doyle 'things' such as talking animals and objects.' Read full review >
  • Sophie Bridges, age 11 - 'I think Brilliant by Roddy Doyle was a great book because it is easy to understand, and once I read the first page I wanted to read more.' Read full review >
  • Amie Coffman, age 10 - 'Hard going I'm afraid and a little boring.  Not to my taste!  I much prefer page turners and exciting stories.  Sorry!' Read full review >
  • Joseph Harris-Hart, age 12 - 'Lots of children are running after the Black Dog of depression to get Dublin's funny bone back.' Read full review >


Brilliant by Roddy Doyle

When Uncle Ben's Dublin business fails, it's clear to Gloria and Raymond that something is wrong. He just isn't his usual cheerful self. So when the children overhear their granny saying that the Black Dog has settled on Ben's back and he won't be OK until it's gone, they decide they're going to get rid of it. Gathering all their courage the children set out on a midnight quest to hunt down the Black Dog and chase it away. But they aren't the only kids on the mission. Loads of other children are searching for it too, because the Black Dog is hounding lots of Dublin's adults. Together - and with the help of magical animals, birds and rodents - the children manage to corner the Black Dog ...but will they have the courage and cleverness to destroy the frightening creature?


The children of Dublin battle a terrible malaise through the use of a special word, and a good dose of magic realism. The Bookseller

This novel is simply brilliant, without wanting to say that I had to say it. Roddy Doyle's trademark dialogue with some really great, entertaining characters for children works wonderfully... I expect nothing less from one of Ireland's finest and am so pleased his children's fiction is as wonderful as his adult's.

A sensitive and excellently written portrayal of depression and the effects on not just the individual but those around them. Would be great paired with Levi Pinfold's Black Dog and used as a discussion point. In a word? Brilliant! Of course. NetGalley


Quite simply, the greatest children's book I have ever read. -- Dubray Books

A profound story about the effect of despair on society is touched with magic and humour by best-selling Roddy Doyle. -- Julia Eccleshare LOVEREADING4KIDS.CO.UK

An uplifting book with lots of fine Doyle wit -- DAILY TELEGRAPH

A lovely, hopeful story. Took me a while to decide on the target audience and then realised: everyone. Caroline Fielding, Librarian and 2014 Chair of the CILIP YLG London

This book lives up to its title... told with Doyle's characteristic humour. Tracey McHardy, NetGalley User & Waterstones Bookseller

About The Author

Roddy Doyle was our Guest Editor in October 2011. Click here to see his book selection.

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. His first novel, The Commitments, was published to great acclaim in 1987 and was made into a globally successful film by Alan Parker. The Snapper was published in 1990 and has also been made into a film, directed by Stephen Frears. The Van was shortlisted for the 1991 Booker Prize and made into a film also by Stephen Frears. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, which won the Booker Prize in 1993, has been published in over twenty languages.

In 1994 he wrote the screenplay for the television drama series, Family. His plays include Brownbread (1987), War (1989) and, most recently, an updated version of The Playboy of the Western World (2007), which he co-wrote with Bisi Adigun. He has also written a collection of stories, The Deportees (2007) and a memoir of his parents, Rory and Ita (2002). His most recent novel is The Dead Republic (2010), which is the final part of the trilogy, following on from Oh, Play That Thing (2004) and A Star Called Henry (1999).

Roddy’s first children’s book The Giggler Treatment was shortlisted for the WH Smith Children’s Book Award.

Roddy Doyle has won many prizes for his writing. These include the Booker Prize and a BAFTA screenplay. He has also won the Irish Children's Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the prestigious 2013 CILIP Carnegie Medal. His novel The Commitments was turned into a blockbuster film directed by Alan Parket and is now a successful musical in Dublin and in London, directed by Jamie Lloyd.

To search for more books by Roddy Doyle on Lovereading - click here