Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Dog's Day

Stier, Catherine. I am Jax, Protector of the Ranch
April 1st 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Jax is a Great Pyrenees dog who works on a ranch in Texas, protecting sheep. Bev is the lead guard dog, and Stormy is a pup who is learning how to work. Stormy is somewhat unpredictable, since she is curious and doesn't know all the ways of the guard dogs yet, like not bothering a mother ewe or her lambs! One night, there is a threat in the area, and Bev is injured after a tussle with a mountain lion. Jax is ready to step in while the humans take Bev to get medical attention, but there is a sheep who has just given birth, and there is still a threat in the area. With only Stormy to help, can Jax keep the flock safe?

Stier, Catherine. I am Jax, Protector of the Ranch
April 1st 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Ava is a chocolate labrador who has been trained in search and rescue and who works at a ski resort. Most of her time is spent patroling (I loved the picture of Nate, her owner and coworker, skiing with her over his shoulders!), and she also spends a lot of time visiting with children at the resort when she is not waiting in the office for the next call. Ava is a little wary of going on an actual search and rescue, and is even a bit apprehensive about the demo that the dogs are going to do. When there is an actual emergency, will Ava live up to her training?

Strengths: There are not that many books about working dogs (Salisbury's Banjo is a recent exception), and Jax and Ava's lives are very interesting. Even though the books are from the dogs' limited perspectives (Ava isn't sure what a demo is), the style never cloying or precious. There are some end notes about different facets of the working dog experience that are good to have as well. These are perfect books for first through third graders who will enjoy the illustrations and larger print. The stories are fast paced and engaging. I wish I had had stories like this when I was just starting to read chapter books!
Weaknesses: I would have loved this if it were for older students-- perhaps a  bit longer, with more about the humans involved. The details about the life of a working dog were fascinating, and I wanted to know more!
What I really think: A lot of my lower readers are huge fans of dog stories, so I think I will purchase this instead of a couple of the new Bruce Cameron's A Dog's Purpose puppy novels, which are starting to get a bit all of a piece.

Ms. Yingling

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