Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Secrets of the Mountain Dog- #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Cover image for Secret of the Mountain DogKimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Secret of the Mountain Dog.
28 October 2014, Scholastic
E ARC from

Jax lives on a mountain in the Catskills, but because of an accident that her younger sister, Kizzy, had, her mother is reluctant to let her explore outside her own yard. When a very large but tame dog shows up, Jax is glad of the excitement, and hopes that she can talk her mother into keeping the well-behaved animal. Jax also realizes that the building further up the hill from her home is now occupied, and when she travels up there, finds that it is a Buddhist monastery. The elderly Rinpoche and his student, Yeshi, are hoping to reopen it to other monks so that they may study. There is one problem, though-- there is a statue of a demon that has gone missing. The two hope to find it, but others from around the world are looking for the statue as well. Jax is glad to help go through boxes as well, and enjoys hearing about Buddhism from Yeshi. When the monastery is threatened, Jax defies her mother to go help, and learns a lot about how to deal with life.
Strengths: There are not a lot of books that talk about Buddhism, and this introduces some main concepts of the religion without being overly preachy. There is enough action and adventure to offset the philosophy. I was fascinated by Yeshi's story. This is similar to Kimmel's The Legend of the Ghost Dog, and vaguely reminiscent of some Peg Kehret stories.
Weaknesses: We never do find out where the dog has come from! Also, I loved Kimmel's Lily B. books so much that I want all of her titles to be that sort of book!

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