Friday, September 06, 2013

Three Books in which No Dogs Die

SEARCH AND RESCUE by Colleen Coble is a gentle read in which a young teen almost loses a chance at getting her own puppy to train for search and rescue missions in the woods near Lake Superior.  This happens when she is accused unjustly of stealing a valuable necklace from a booth at an art show.  Emily has long been helping her mother and the search and rescue leader with their missions.  She has also been creating her own jewelry from fused glass to sell.  The accusations and the thought of missing out on training her own puppy are heart rending for her.  She had her friend do their own detective work to solve the mystery of the missing necklace and enlist the help of a reporter along the way to solving it.  Before the mystery is solved Emily has redeemed her reputation and received her puppy to train as well as participated in yet another search and rescue mission.  There are a lot of characters in this story, none of them more than superficial but the plot does carry the story ok.

DUKE by Kirby Larson intended for upper elementary readers this historical fiction novel is entertaining  and easy enough for reluctant readers through middle school and even into high school.  Its 1944 and in the throes of world war II.  Everyone is doing their best to help with the war effort.  When a neighbor recruits Hobie Hanson's beloved German Shepard Duke for the war effort it is extremely hard to give him up. In fact, he tries to get Duke back by writing letters of discouragement to Duke's Handler, a marine private.  When his father, who is in the service, becomes a prisoner of war, when his teacher's husband is killed in action and when Duke saves the life of marine private Corff, Hobie regrets his actions.  Things mostly turn out ok in this story.  The language, the attitudes and behaviors of the people reflect the time period of the novel.  So, to readers today it may seem way to sweet and unrealistic.  But that was the way it was back then.  Keep this in mind if you read this story.

ROTTEN by Michael Northrop  JD Dobbs return home after a summer upstate without really telling anyone where he was or why.  He finds that his mother has adopted a rescue dog. Its a Rottweiler named Jon-Jon by mom and Johnny Rotten after the Sex Pistol's Singer by JD.  The dog had been abused and has anxiety issues that require sort of gentle handling.  JD catches on pretty quickly, I thought,  but one of his friends corners JR and gets nipped.  His parents choose to turn a minor bite into a full blown issue in an attempt to get money from JD's mom.  JD knows the truth of how the bite happened and how bad it really is but cannot prove it.  It looks as if JD and mom will lose everything including their home.  JR will have to be euthanized.  That is unless JD can find a way to prove JR is not as bad as he is portrayed...  So most of this story is JD relating to the dog, which is pretty cool and figuring out how to save JR's life.  That includes revealing to his friends and others how he spent his summer in what is for him an uncharacteristic show of honesty.  JD and his friends, even Janie his girl are not the most upstanding students in school.  The guys have been known to hang outside and smoke pot during school, to skip school, to start fights and to routinely get detention. This could make an ok read for a reluctant reader.  Northrup's books are more about the issue than about the people and I prefer character driven stories.
JDW 9/6

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