Sunday, November 04, 2012

Latasha and the Little Red Tornado

Latasha and the Little Red Tornado

Scotto, Michael. Latasha and the Little Red Tornado
15 November 2011, Midlandia Press
Nominated for the Cybils by Andi Sibley

***SPOILER ALERT***Latasha and her mother live upstairs from their elderly landlady, Mrs. Okocho, who very kindly watches Latasha when her mother has to work. Her mother is a nurses' aide, and gets a new job, which means she is gone until 7:30 at night. This is a problem, because Latasha's dog, Ella, is still young and rambunctious, racing around the apartment and making a fair amount of noise... right on top of Mrs. Okocho's apartment! Latasha tries to train Ella, and finally comes up with a good plan. While she is not allowed to go to the park by herself (since she is 8), she may go with a neighbor boy, Ricky, and they can help Ella expend some of her energy. Latasha has other things to worry about-- she tries to help her mother around the house, and there is a reading competition at school that she's excited about. When she and Ricky have a fight, Latasha takes Ella to the park by herself, with disastrous consequences. Things work out in the end, and Latasha makes great strides in being more independent and responsible.
Strengths: This book was engaging and moved along at a good pace. The dynamics between Latasha, her mother, and Mrs. Okocho were realistic and interesting. This was a great dog story and included a lot of helpful information for dealing with dogs.
Weaknesses: I wish that Latasha had been 11 or 12. She wants her independence, but children can't really be left alone at the age of 8, and I wouldn't even have allowed mine to go to the park alone. The tension would have been understandable if Latasha were older. Also, Ella losing a leg might be too much for 8 year olds, although Ella recovers very nicely.

Most school libraries will have any number of books about dog care or training, so it is very easy to find a nonfiction title to go along with this book!

1 comment:

  1. Seems we have a lot of dog books this year, hm? And three legged dogs to boot! Is this a trend of is it always like this and I never noticed?