Saturday, September 01, 2012

The No-Dogs-Allowed Rule; Buddy

Sheth, Kashmira. The No-Dogs-Allowed Rule.
1 September 2012, Albert Whitman and Co.
E-ARC from

Ishan Mehra desperately wants a dog, but his busy parents don't want to get one. His brother Sunil also wants a dog but is more responsible and less irksome to his parents. Ishan tries every trick under the sun, from trying to make his mother breakfast with disastrous results, pretending to be a dog, and plotting to mention dogs at every available opportunity. Ishan's exuberance gets him into a lot of trouble, and his chance at redemption comes when he finds a neighbor who has a stroke and had the opportunity to take care of the man's dog.
Strengths: This was a funny book that early elementary students will enjoy, and it is great that Ishan's life is filled with details revolving around his ethnic background, but the book is not about him being Indian, it's about him wanting a job.
Weaknesses: This is too young for middle school, and I would have loved to have one like this for a slightly older crowd, something like Paulsen's Liar, Liar series.

Herlong, M.H. Buddy.
13 September 2012 (ARC from Baker and Taylor)
Reviewed at Young Adult Books Central

Li'l T is happy with his life in New Orleans in 2005 except for one thing: he desperately wants a dog. When the family car hits a dog on the way to church, they rally support and take the dog to the vet, who has to amputate one of the dogs legs. Li'l T is happy that he finally has a pet, and assumes extra responsibilities, like mowing yards, in order to pay for Buddy's upkeep. Of course, in the late summer of 2005, Li'l T's family has bigger issues to worry about-- they have to leave their home because of Hurricane Katrina, and when they can't fit Buddy in the car, they leave him locked in an upstairs bathroom. Once the storm passes, they try to retrieve him and are devastated when he is not there, although relieved that he has been rescued. The pastor of the family's church tries to help locate the dog, and it turns our Buddy has been adopted by a family in California. When the adoptive family contacts Li'l T, money is raised to send him out to bring the dog back. Once there, he realizes how much the other family loves Buddy and has to make the decision as to what is best for the dog he adores.
Strengths: Strong sense of place and community, as well as another view of the events of Hurrican Katrina and the devastation that it brought to communities. I'm assuming that Li'l T is African American, which would be great, because there aren't as many multicultural dog books, but looking back, I have nothing concrete to indicate this; even the cover is ambiguous.
Weaknesses: The pacing on this is rather slow, and since my students were about 5 when Katrina hit, they don't know much about it.

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