Saturday, September 21, 2019

Bad Bella

Standish, Ali. Bad Bella
September 24th 2019 by HarperCollins
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Bella lives with the McBrides, who have several small children and often forget Bella's needs. She gets in trouble for things like trying to water the Christmas tree by peeing in the holder, and for knocking the tree down while trying to get her favorite snack (popcorn) off the tree. With another child on the way, the McBrides can't deal with "bad" Bella, and take her to a shelter. There, Bella is disabused of her notion that the McBrides are her parents and she is their child by another dog who informs her that she has owners who care mainly for their own convenience. When she is adopted by a young couple, the Roses, Bella finally gets the attention she deserves, but is always wary. When the couple is expecting a baby, Bella misunderstands some of their remarks and thinks she is going to be abandoned again, so she runs away. Eventually, she is able to make it home and learn that her forever family is not going to abandon her.
Strenghths: It's sweet that Standish based this book on her own dog, and I enjoyed that she tries to make readers understand that "bad" behavior often has very good reasons if you understand the roots of it. This can be extrapolated to the behavior of people as well! I also like that the Roses modeled proper pet owning behavior and give Bella such a good life! I will say that Sylvie (my dog) now wants to know why she doesn't get ice cream every night! (Answer-- she has arthritis in her hip and must keep her weight down!)
Weaknesses: There's nothing new or especially innovative about this, but my readers who like this sort of story thrive on repetition, so it will work.
What I really think: I will purchase this, because dog books are something readers do ask for a lot, and this was a sweet story. I know just the reader who needs it, in fact! A must purchase for elementary libraries, and a good choice for middle school libraries with readers who enjoy dog stories like Ellen Miles' Puppy Place series.

Ms. Yingling


  1. My sister's family recently adopted a dog that had been rescued from a bad place. It took him some time to not be scared of soccer balls or fingers snapping, and then once he got more settled was then hesitant around new people that weren't her family. Now he's so friendly with new people - they've worked real hard with him and he's come a long way in a short time. Sounds like a great book.

  2. who can resist a dog story? Knowing a Bella, I'll probably find my way to this book...