Friday, November 04, 2022

Lacey's Story: A Puppy Tale

Cameron, W. Bruce. Lacey's Story: A Puppy Tale
August 30th 2022 by Starscape
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Lacey is the exuberant puppy of Wenling, who lives on a farm with her mother and father, ZZ. ZZ has worked on the farm since before Wenling was born, but the owner feels that things are not going well and is planning on cutting down the trees in the orchard. There won't be enough money to keep ZZ on, so the family might have to move. Wenling is distraught; she loves being outside and growing things, and the owner's sons, Grant and Burke, are her best friends. Burke is in a wheelchair for unspecified reasons (the story is delivered by Lacey, so everything is from her viewpoint), but doesn't let it slow him down too much. When Lacey runs off and is hit by a car, ZZ wants to put the dog down, but Wenling's mother prevails, since the dog is doing well except for the fact that her back legs are paralyzed. ZZ crafts a cart for Lacey, which makes her happy, but also requires a lot of practice and training to use properly. Grant and Burke's dog, Cooper, has been trained to help Burke with some things, and is instrumental in helping Lacey learn to take turns in her cart more slowly. Lacey is able to go all over the farm with Wenling, which sometimes gets them into trouble; the children are caught out in a big snow storm and survive by taking shelter in a unused glass greenhouse on the property. To try to earn money, Wenling tries growing different things and sells seedlings to neighbors, but when she falls from a tree and breaks her leg, she has to get creative in making her rounds. Of course, Lacey comes to the rescue! Will the children's efforst be enough to save the farm?

This is the 9th book in Cameron's spin off from his adult title, A Dog's Purpose, and has the same extremely appealing cover as the other titles. I have to admit that Molly's Story is my favorite because the dog on the cover looks a bit like my dog Sylvie! Since these are also on the shorter side and have straight forward stories, they are a bit hit with my struggling readers who love dogs.

Since we are seeing and hearing events from Lacey's view point, there are some details that aren't fully fleshed out, and sometimes the perspective feels forced, but this view does make it easier for some readers to understand events. Burke's wheelchair use is approached very matter-of-factly, and aside from a cringey moment when ZZ asks Burke to help him convince Wenling that Lacey should be put down because HER legs are paralyzed, both the human and dog disabilities are portrayed in a positive fashion. It's realistic to show families struggling with job security, and the plight of small farmers is certainly noteworthy.

Wenling's energy matches Lacey's, and she loves being outside and growing things. I'd love to see more books, like Peters' Jasmine Green series, that shows young people on working farms.

Add this title to a growing list of fun and instructive dog books that includes Crimi's Secondhand Dogs, Hart's Coal Mine Dog and other historical titles, Tubb's Zeus: Sog of Chaos, Mason's Rescue Dogs, and Shotz's American Dogs series. 

Ms. Yingling

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