Cameron, W. Bruce. Ellie's Story (A Dog's Purpose Novel)
April 14th 2015 by Starscape
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Ellie is excited to be adopted by Jakob, and loves to have her ears scratched and cuddle up to the gruff man, who seems to prefer "work". Ellie understands that this is important, so practices "finding" people. She eventually gets good at it and has to locate a woman who has run away from a nursing home. Ellie also finds missing children and others, delighting in Jakob's company, until he is wounded while finding a child who has been abducted. Ellie is then taken in by Maya, who was a beat cop but is out of shape for working in a canine unit. She is also having a tenuous romance with the man next door, and is trying really hard to keep Ellie active and happy. Eventually, the two go to an earthquake zone to rescue survivors, and Ellie's abilities are compromised. The two do school visits, and reconnect with Jakob years after he worked with Ellie.
Strengths: Good descriptions of what a search and rescue dog's training entails, and interesting jobs that Ellie has to do. Dog books are quite popular with my students, and the cover alone will sell this one.
Weaknesses: The voice of the dog got fairly annoying, especially when Ellie is the ring bearer in Maya's wedding. Just not my favorite thing to read-- I'd prefer it in third person rather than first. I am a bit curious about the adult version of the novel. (A Dog's Purpose?)
What I really think: Falls on the "commercial schlock" side of some line for me, but kids will probably read it. And it also made me want to train my dog to read to children so she doesn't feel valueless and lonely during the day...
Sutherland, Tui. Mud-Puddle Poodle (Pet Trouble #3)
July 1st 2009 by Scholastic Paperbacks
E Book checked out from Ohio E Book Project
Rosie wants everything to be pink and delightful in her world... which is hard, since she has three older, galumphing brothers. When the family decides to get a dog, the boys all want larger dogs, but Rosie points out that poodles are hypoallergenic and smart, and finally gets her way. When Button arrives, however, she is a feisty little thing who would rather dig in the dirt than wear the precious pink collars that Rosie wants her to wear. The more Button doesn't adhere to Rosie's expectations of her, the more interested in her the boys get, and the madder Rosie gets! Button has a lot of energy, and Rosie finally is taught how to harness that energy, and also learns that putting clothes on puppies isn't a great idea!
Strengths: This packed a lot of good stuff in a small book. Rosie's family is Hispanic, but that isn't dwelt upon. The family dynamic is a lot of fun, and the older brother finding out that girls like cute, fluffy dogs was a charming scene. I liked that Rosie's expectations weren't met, but she found a way to make the most of her dog.
Weaknesses: Only available in E Book format. Drat. This would go over well with my struggling readers, and had a lot of good information. I would love to have the whole series!
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Nonfiction Monday also