Friday, June 02, 2017

A Dog Like Daisy

Tubb, Kristin O'Donnell. A Dog Like Daisy
June 13th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Daisy is in the pound, and not enjoying it much. When a young boy and a man come to look at dogs, she takes a liking to the man, Victor, even though he is wary of the boy, Micah, and the trainer who accompanies them. Victor is a soldier struggling with PTSD, and he hopes to train Daisy to be a service dog to help ease his anxiety. The trainer doubts that Daisy is a good fit; there are only ten weeks to train Daisy, and her behavior is sometimes erratic, since she is struggling with a difficult past as well. Victor doesn't give up, even when Daisy has trouble with other animals and spooks when she hears a garbage truck. Her training continues even after the two weeks, since Victor has grown fond of her. Will she be able to learn all of her lessons and be able to assist Victor in the ways he most needs?

It's difficult to write a novel from a dog's perspective and adequately capture the dog's perceptions and emotions without sounding overly precious, but Tubb does a good job of this. Using Daisy as the narrator is a good way to show Victor's difficulties without making them overwhelming to young readers, and we are also able to see how difficult life was for Daisy. This is a good motivation for her to do a good job so that she can stay with the family. I did like the twist at the end concerning this!

There are not too many books about military families, but this is certainly a growing topic of concern. It is helpful that while Victor is shown to have some difficulties, these are addressed in a straightforward manner and not overly dramatized. The family is lucky to have a support network, and Victor is certainly trying his best to remain a steady father figure. Micah is the character who seems least able to deal with his problems, and young readers will identify with him.

There can never be enough dog novels for readers who really enjoy them. A Dog Like Daisy is a great addition to books about dogs, including Klimo's Dog Diaries, Cameron's A Dog's Purpose series, Hart's historical dog novels from Peachtree Publishers and Pyron's A Dog's Way Home.

Ms. Yingling

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