Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saturday Morning DOGS

Robertshaw, Danny, Danta, Ron, and Velasquez, Crystal. 
Catrinella, Lauren (illus.)
Millie, Daisy, and the Scary Storm (Life in the Doghouse #3)
Published July 12th 2022 by Aladdin
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Millie and Daisy have been living at Danny and Ron's Rescue since Hurrican Katrina left them homeless. Daisy is very scared of anything that approaches a storm, even gentle rain. Daisy tries to encourage Millie to deal with her fear, and helps a little by supporting her friend. Daisy is very excited about the prospect of getting adopted, and the two dogs agree that they should be adopted together, and embark on some research as to what makes dogs appealing. This results in them trying to become "fluffy" by rolling in the mud, getting into clean laundry because they feel matching outfits might help, and other highjinks. Daisy, however, starts to realize that she just wants to stay where she is, even though she would miss her friend. To this end, she starts spending more time away from her friend, and working on her own strategies to be less adoptable. The two dogs also work with a younger dog, Luna, to overcome her extreme shyness which is getting in the way of finding her her forever home. Will Millie and Daisy both be able to find a home that makes them happy?

Like Elmer and the Talent Show and Moose and the Smelly Sneakers, this book is based on animals that lived in Danny and Ron's Rescue, and includes photographs of the animals in addition to Catrinella's charming black and white illustrations. At just over 100 pages each, this series is a great length for readers who are looking for slightly longer titles than Clarke's Dr. Kittycat, Coe's Fenway or Higgin's Good Dog books. 

Millie and Daisy's story doesn't have as much input from the human characters, and their attempts to get adopted are humorous because we know it's a little  unlikely that dogs will try to dress themselves. Their counseling of Luna is also a bit unusual, but it's a fun way for children to think about what goes through a dog's mind!

There is a little bit of information at the end of the book about Hurrican Katrina and the start of the dog rescue operation; I'd almost like to see a nonfiction book about this. To young readers, Hurricane Katrina was a very long time ago, yet there are still storms that result in many dogs ending up in rescues in other states. A nonfiction title about that would be very useful. 

Friendship is an appealing topic, whether it is about human or canine friendships, and I loved how Millie and Daisy supported each other even though they had different goals. Hand this to fans of Cameron's Lily to the Rescue, Miles' The Puppy Place, and West's The Underdogs. Good Dogs on a Bad Day and Crimi's Secondhand Dogs are also good depictions of rescue dogs for slightly more advanced readers. 

Braddock, Paige. On the Trail (Peanut, Butter, and Crackers #3)
July 12th 2022 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Peanut is leery of going into a new, scary room, but Butter, the fearless cat, has no such compunction. Crackers, a somewhat larger, older dog, shows Peanut that the room is just a garage, and isn't scary at all. The trio realize that their humans are packing up to take them somewhere, and when they get on the road in a camper van, enjoy having more space to stretch out while on the road. At the campsite, however, Butter starts feeling a bit cooped up and bored, and wants to go exploring. Crackers thinks this is a bad idea, but Butter claws the screen in order to escape and go on an adventure. Crackers counsels against it, but Peanut goes along, hoping to prove less fearful after the garage incident. The two don't come back, and Crackers becomes concerned and ventures out to find his friends. It's a good thing, because the two go far into the woods, it becomes dark, and they fall into the water. Quick thinking by Crackers and help from a local beaver save the day, and the trio heads home, repairs the screen, and decides that staying in the lap of luxury might not be all that boring after all. 

This beginning graphic novel was a lot of fun, and is the third book in a series that includes Puppy Problems and Fetch. I haven't read either of those, but was able to catch up to the group dynamic pretty quickly. The colors are bright, and the text is in a large font size and much briefer than in graphic novels for older readers. This was similar to Keating's BunBun and BonBon, Lerner's Hunger Heroes, and Smith's Pea, Bee, and Jay, and made me think of older titles like the Holms' Babymouse, Krosoczka's Lunch Ladies, or Eaton's The Flying Beaver Brothers books. 

The best part about this book was how well developed the personalities of the pets are! Butter, of course, is a wily, somewhat evil cat, although the portrayal is not overly stereotypical. Peanut is all youthful exuberance and emotional swings, while Crackers is content to nap in a cozy sweater. The beaver, Birch, is a bit of a wild card, but adds a fun note of quirkiness to a solid cast. I need to pick up the earlier books to see if humans are represented as more than feet and hands!

Getting lost in the woods can be traumatic, and Peanut and Butter are fortunate that Crackers is a resourceful character who is able to find them, work with Birch to save them. Crackers also gets extra points in my book for introducing Birch to the concept of kibbles, and for rewarding the rescue with a box of treats. He also cleans up his friends' mess so that the humans don't even seem to know that anything is amiss. This was a fun story, and I definitely want to explore more books by this author. 

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment