All posts tagged "Kids booklist"

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What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld with HB Gilmour

What the Dog Said coverGrace is thirteen.  She’s become withdrawn since her Dad, a policeman, was killed in a drive-by shooting about a year ago.  Her sister, Regan, decides she needs Grace’s help with a project.  Regan wants early admission to what she considers the best college, and with their Mother’s approval  she drafts Grace to "help" her.  The scheme?   Adopt a shelter puppy and train it to become a service dog.  The last thing Grace wants to do is help Regan with anything.  She sees Regan adjusting to life without their father and Grace resents her. She feels that Regan is being disloyal to their Dad’s memory.


But here they are at the animal shelter looking at dogs in a totally chaotic setting, Grace can barely stand the noise, all the barking and scratching, when something strange happens – a dog talks to her!  Not a very cute dog, actually a gray-and-brown-mutt, an "…unkempt, prickly coated mutt…" (page 5).  Grace convinces Regan that Rex is the dog for them.  Sure he’s no longer a puppy, but he tells Grace that he’s smart and trainable and cheap!  As they leave the shelter with Rex she starts to think:  "My mom and sister thought my coming here would help me get back to normal.  Instead, I heard a dog talk.  I think that’s either irony or payback."  (page 9)


Is Grace really hearing Rex talk?  Together can they solve the mystery of her Dad’s shooting before Rex leaves Grace to become a companion to a needy little girl?  Can Rex help Grace to re-connect with her friends and get back to her “normal” life?


Randi Reisfeld and HB Gilmour are the co-authors of several books including the T*Witches series.    The two began work on What the Dog Said several months before HB Gilmour died.  Ms. Reisfeld completed this book in her honor. 

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

One Dog and His Boy coverHal’s parents believe he is living the perfect life for a young boy.  His parents are rich beyond belief, they give Hal everything he ever wants; at least they give him every toy or gadget or article of clothing he wants.  More things than he ever needs, more than he ever asks for, in fact.   In reality all Hal really ever wanted was a dog, and maybe a little more attention from his parents.


As his tenth birthday approaches Hal thinks about how many times he has asked for a dog.  His Mother feels that dogs are dirty and smelly.  Dogs need to be walked or they might make a puddle in her very perfect house.  You see there are no bugs and not even a little dust in the house.  And other than Hal, his Mother, his Father and the maids, who only come there to work, there is nothing alive in Hal’s house.  No mice, no bugs, no plants.  There weren’t even live flowers in the yard only raked gravel.  Why you might ask?  Well according to Hal’s Mother "…because flowers mean earth and mess" (page 2).


How do Hal and his dog finally find each other?  In Hal’s town there is a place called Easy Pets where you can rent a dog for any length of time.  Now I don’t think that renting a dog for a weekend is quite what Hal has in mind.  But that’s where our story of One Dog and His Boy begins. 


I’d recommend this book to all animal lovers.  Author Eva Ibbotson died on October 20, 2010, making this her last book.  All of her fans will miss her.  Please read and enjoy her final heart-warming book. 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Wonder coverAugust ( Auggie) Pullman knew he was different, but that was just how he looked.  “To me, though, I’m just me.  An ordinary kid.” (Page 306)


Auggie was born with not one, but two rare birth defects.  Because of this misalignment of his genes (or as some doctors explained it a “chromosome rearrangement” (page 105)) he did not look like other people.  Some people were frightened of him, some stared at him, while others pretended not to notice. 


All Auggie wanted was to be thought of as an ordinary kid.  He’d been homeschooled all his life, but now as he prepared to enter fifth grade his Mother decided he needed to go to school with other children.  Beecher Prep, Auggie’s new school, was a small private school within walking distance of his home.  And that’s where this story begins as Auggie learns he has been admitted to the school.  Fifth grade classes start in just a few days.


Wonder is not just Auggie’s story, though he’s the center of attention.  It’s the story of his family.  Of how they adapted to his special needs over the years and how now they try to help him adjust to school.  It’s also the story of the other fifth graders in Auggie’s classes, especially the three students who were asked to help him acclimate to Beecher Prep.  There are also teachers and the principal who must overcome their own concerns as they help students accept Auggie as just that ordinary kid. 


This first novel by R.J. Palacio has received widespread positive reviews in many library and literary publications.  An inspiration for this book comes from the lyrics to the song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant

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