Posts tagged ‘animal shelter’

IT’S A DOG’S LIFE X 5

A Night at the Animal Shelter

Written by Mark J. Asher

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Sweet Christmas tale centering on the plight of five dogs who now find themselves at Blithedale Animal Shelter on Christmas Eve. These five animals narrate the story: Maizie, a four month old Black Lab puppy, Dutch, an eleven year old mixed breed, Raider, a three year old pit bull, Peg, a six year old lame Chihuahua, and Georgie, a seven year old Golden Retriever. Each of these animals have been given up for various reasons they deem to be no fault of their own. On Christmas Eve, their favorite volunteer Ginny is feeling blue, but willing to spend time comforting the animals. Maizie discovers her cage door is left ajar. She will soon be persuaded to let her friends out for a few hours of fun and mischief. Christmas comes and goes; none of the animals seem destined for adoption. In January a visitor to the shelter will leave them behind once more, but provide them with an unforeseen opportunity.

The personification of the animals and their dialogue is both humorous and realistic. It is obvious that the author has a good handle on human and canine behavior. He has written nine books about dogs. This short, sweet and heartwarming tale is a good choice for a holiday read or for any age reader, especially one who loves dogs.

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT

The Rescue Team

Written by Billi Tiner

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The author of this heartwarming tale told from the point of view of a dog and a cat is a veterinarian who understandably has a great kinship with animals. Targeted for children in the eight to twelve year age range, the chapter book has no sex, violence or profanity which makes it a nice choice for a family read aloud. This book will take you on a series of adventures that will put you in their shoes.

The adventure begins when Ellie, who is a one year old Border Collie, suddenly finds herself in an animal shelter when her owners become pregnant. After what seems like an eternity, a kind woman named Anne adopts her. Ellie soon discovers that her new owner loves animals; Ellie begins to bring animals in trouble home. Soon she is sharing her home with Toby, a six-month old kitten who becomes her best friend. Together they will form an improbable but talented rescue team.

When Anne is hurt in an automobile accident, she meets a fireman named Brent and their lives become even more involved in animal and human rescue. They will all face adventures and disasters that hit close to home. The plot is simple and predictable, but the author has a real knack for using first person to get the reader in the head of the animal characters. Text level of difficulty is suitable for middle grade independent readers; younger children will enjoy listening to the story read aloud. Nice book to curl up with on a rainy weekend afternoon.

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Sleepover Zoo

Written by Brenda Kearns

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This book tells the tale of a sixth-grader named Toni who has just moved into the town of Renforth. Her parents are animal lovers; they work for the animal shelter. They don’t stop with their day job. At home the family takes care of injured wild birds until they are recovered and able to be set free. This makes for a somewhat extraordinary household! Toni has made a new friend named Megan at school, but the rest of the girls find it strange that bird seeds coming flying out of Toni’s lunch box. One of the girls named Leona presses Toni to come over for a sleepover; Toni hopes that her parents will say no. How can she possibly describe their house? There are mice in the freezer, a macaw named Mortimer that drinks coffee and eats pizza, a snake, and a cat named Avery that steals food from your dinner plate. I think you get the picture. Toni’s teenage brother Bruno friends tells her not to worry, but Toni is dreading the visit.

That visit does not start out auspiciously. Leona is knocked down by their dog, Duke, who promptly chews up her scrungy, knots her hair and messes up her dress. Leona can’t believe the chaos that these animals present. When they hear a scream in the bathroom, Bruno realizes that the goose in the bathtub feels threatened by the stranger. Toni’s parents try to make their guest comfortable by surprising the girls with pizza and ice cream, which they never serve. Will Leona run away and tell everyone at school that Leona lives in a “crazy house” or will she learn that every family is different and that being different is not necessarily a bad thing?

This book contains just the right amount of humor and absurdity to appeal to middle grade students so desperate to fit in. The characters are well developed, the chapters are short, the text is not overly difficult. For this reason, the book makes an excellent chapter book appropriate for a reluctant reader. If the book contained more pictures, it would have appeal for younger children. Older readers will enjoy the story as well because it rings genuine and true to life. The book teaches us that everyone does not have to conform to the mold; our community benefits from diversity.

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