Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dog Diaries

13642534 Klimo, Kate. Buddy (Dog Diaries #2)
January 8th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers

In the 1920s, a woman named Dorothy Eustis set up a school to train Seeing Eye dogs, and a man named Morris Frank came and learned to use such a dog, with the understanding that he would then set up a school in the United States. Told from the point of view of the dog that was trained with Morris, this short book tells how Buddy was trained to work with the blind, and has excellent details about how Seeing Eye dogs operate, as well as good historical details.
Strengths: I was absolutely charmed by this book, even though I didn't think I would be (I have friends who always write their Christmas newsletter from the point of view of their cat...). This is a perfect book for a reluctant reader-- not that long, interesting, has a few pictures, moves quickly. While it was clearly historical, it didn't come right out and say that, so students who HAVE to read historical fiction but don't want to will take this well. I would think this series would be a must for elementary school libraries, and a good addition to middle school libraries with a population of reluctant or picky readers.
Weaknesses: The reason that this was particularly engaging was the historical aspect, and I suppose that Buddy knew a little bit more than most dogs could reliably relay. There was some suspension of disbelief required to make this work.

13642532Klimo, Kate. Ginger (Dog Diaries #2)
January 8th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers

This is the first book in the series, and it was very different from the second. Ginger in born in a puppy mill, where the runt of the litter dies, and is then taken to a pet store where she is bought by a family with a two year old, as a Christmas present. She spends a lot of time peeing on the carpet and chewing shoes until she takes a nip at the child and ends up at the shelter. There, a man who likes to run adopts her, and all goes well until the man's mother is sick, he leaves her in the care of an incompetent dog walker, and Ginger jumps through a window and spends some time as a wild dog. Eventually, animal control gets her, and the shelter sends her out to the country to a place where they rehabilitate repeat offenders. There, Ginger is matched with her "furever" family and then enjoys life with a nine year old boy.
Strengths: Interesting information about puppy mills, pet shops, and matching dogs to the right owners.
Weaknesses: Enjoyed the second book, with its historical information, a lot more!

The next two books cover historical dogs again-- St. Bernards in the Alps and sled dogs during an influenza epidemic in the 1920s. Dash, which comes out in July 2014, is about dogs who are on the Mayflower! I think I will buy the first book so as not to irritate students who HAVE to read things in order, but I do prefer the historical ones.

These have the added advantage of being a series which does not have to be read in order to make sense, since all the books are about different dogs. 


  1. We actually have one of these books on our shelf, and I couldn't decide whether to plunge ahead with my 9-year-old or not. This sounds like a good endorsement. (And maybe next year we'll do our Christmas card from the POV of our dog. . .)

  2. Sounds like something I should read! Thanks! Hadn't heard of these!

  3. These sound like great books to get animal loving kids into HF. I haven't heard of them before, but I will definitely look into them. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Anonymous5:42 PM EST

    Sounds interesting. Especially Ginger looks to me like a book I might have to check out.