Saturday, October 27, 2018

Louie (The Puppy Place #51)

37825426Miles, Ellen. Louie (The Puppy Place #51)
October 30th 2018 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

The Petersons are working together to clean up a camp ground near Loon Lake, where they will be spending time this summer. Charles and his neighbor Sammy are working hard but also having fun, but the day takes an exciting event when their mother calls from home to say that a dog has been abandoned... at Loon Lake. Sure enough, in a carrier in a parking lot there is a puppy. When the group approaches the dog, they find that it is a very large Newfoundland who is skittish around so many people. They manage to calm it, and Charles and his sister Lizzie figure that they will foster it, but large puppies have special needs, especially as they grow into even larger dogs! Because the dog is so large, the boys, including Liam and twins Hunter and Tyler, decide that training Louie should be a Cub Scout project. They work very hard to train Louie so that he will be easier to adopt. Eventually, the people who abandoned Louie come forward, saying that they regretted leaving him the way they did and returned very soon to the parking lot, but the dog was already gone. In the end, Louie's training goes well, and his new home is easier to find than the boys could have expected.

Dogs end up at organizations like Caring Paws for various reasons, and Miles gives a sympathetic portrait of harried dog owners who make a poor decision but immediately try to rectify it. The difficulties with having a large dog are not made light of, either, and it's good to see the Cub Scouts working together to insure that Louie has a bright future. Children need to know that there are sometimes unfortunate situations, but it is empowering for them to read about other children who are able to make a difference.

I enjoy getting to know the family's of the friends of the Peterson children, and it's also fun to meet local veterinarians whom they consult for different aspects of animal care, or in this case, to try to find Louie's owners. This imbues the books with a nice sense of community-- even the cookout and clean up at the lake is a great, fun way to start off a story.

Liek the other books in this series, there are Puppy Tips at the end, these centering around why puppies might need to be surrendered to shelters, and the best way to do it. There's also a recipe for cinnamon toast.

Readers who enjoyed the short stories in Lucky Dog : Twelve Tales of Rescued Dogs or the sad plight of Lee's Dog Lost will especially love this story of Louie. Be warned that once your readers start with The Puppy Place books, it will be necessary to obtain as many as possible, and at a good clip! Luckily, they don't need to be read in order!

Simpson, Dana. Phoebe and Her Unicorn in Unicorn Theater (Heavenly Nostrils #8)
October 23rd 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

Phoebe is getting ready to go to summer camp, but instead of going to music camp, she is heading off to a drama camp. Marigold is going with her, but so is Marigold's sister, Florence. The sisters have been long estranged after a childhood incident, but are starting to reconnect, leaving Phoebe feeling lonely. She has her friend Sue and her sea serpent Ringo, but as Marigold and her sister spend more and more time together, Phoebe feels angrier and angrier. Even when Florence attributes her renewed relationship with Marigold to Phoebe's influence, things are not the way they should be. Can Phoebe and Sue's play save the day?
Strengths: Marigold is always funny, and the drawings are delightful. I had my reservations about any series that involved the phrase "heavenly nostrils", but it's worth a try if you have a large audience of graphic novel/comics loving middle grade readers. This is not a collection of strips, but rather a graphic novel in the manner of The Magic Storm (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #6) .
The friend drama was a bit overdone, and this was probably the least humorous of the series.
What I really think: Students love these. Thinking about getting the volumes I like best in a Follett bound.

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