Posts tagged ‘dog’

ARMED AND READY

Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Written by Brandon Hale

Illustrated by Jason Zimdars

Hale has written an original, charming chapter book that began as a way to keep in touch with his son while Hale was away from home. The book is divided into eight short chapters that are completely written in verse. Hale does not shy away from challenging vocabulary in a book that is written for the six to ten age group.

Martin is a young prince who lives in a faraway kingdom. At the beginning of the tale, Martin experiences a dream in which he fights a dragon with a loyal dog at his side. One of Martin’s favorite pastimes is visiting the castle armory, where all types of swords and weapons are stored. Unfortunately, the king permits his son to possess only a wooden staff and a slingshot, until the prince is able to prove that he is loyal, brave and true. Martin is unsure of how to do so, but he is determined to set forth out of the castle to the forest beyond.

Chapters two through eight covers the adventures that await Martin. He will meet a farmer who warns him of wild hogs, a deer whose fawn is trapped, and a brave dog who is willing to defend the helpless with his life. Martin must face his own fears as well as bullies. Will Martin find the courage and strength to survive and prove himself worthy?

The rhymes are perfect for a read aloud. Younger children might need the help of an adult to decipher some of the vocabularies. Color illustrations in each chapter enhance the adventure. This first book in a series should appeal especially to boys who love adventures, dragons, swords, and dogs. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school age children.

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The Peaceable Prince

Alf The Workshop Dog: An illustrated, interactive, magical bedtime story chapter book adventure for kids (Once upon a NOW 1)

Written by Emma Calin

Illustrated by Michael “Miko” Abellara

Alftheworkshop,picQuite a mouthful for a title; first in a series of books. This chapter book of approximately sixty pages is available in kindle format, paperback and audio. An interesting feature is the quality code imprint set into the text which allows the reader to access video, coloring pages, and more background on the story. If this book is broken down into chapters for a read aloud, it could be used as a bedtime story.

The fairy tale adventure opens in the kingdom of Zanubia where Alfredo, a gentle and lonely boy, struggles in his role as prince. The king expects him to become a great warrior and conqueror. Alfredo is only at peace when the king is off to battle. Alfred’s mother allows him to sing and play in the forest where he meets a girl named Laura who becomes his friend. When Alfred grows up and refuses to fight, he is thrown into prison. Eventually Alfred is released with the expectation that he will become a merciless hunter and warrior. The king is dismayed when his son stands up for Laura who is accused of stealing. She escapes and Alfred follows., but they are not destined to be together. A golden crow warns the prince he must hide if he does not want to be killer. Alfred is transformed into a dog named Alf, who will lead many interesting lives while observing humans.

What will happen on Alf’s many adventures? Is Prince Alfred gone forever? Does Laura survive? What happens to the kingdom of Zanubia?

The length of this chapter book makes it a good choice for reluctant and beginning readers. Charming pencil drawings and those interactive bonus features keep things interesting. The plot is easy to follow and the characters believable. Great choice for boys and girls in the seven to eleven age range.

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A BEAR’S BEST FRIEND

SUGAR AND CLIVE AND THE CIRCUS BEAR (DOGWOOD ISLAND MIDDLE GRADE ADVENTURES Book One)

Written by Alexandra Amor

SugarClive,pic

The format of this book is a bit unusual for a middle grade adventure. The author begins with a prologue setting the scene for the climax of the book. She ends with an epilogue that answers the questions left in the reader’s minds.

Sugar is an energetic, caramel colored dog who lives a carefree life with her mistress Marion on Dogwood Island. Sugar has a somewhat unusual best friend, a barn swallow named Clive who lives on the farm with her. One day, while traipsing through the island, Clive urges Sugar to come to the library to see a strange site, a bear in a cage in the town square, who apparently has been abandoned on the island. The two friends strike up a conversation with the bear named Sebastian.

Soon it becomes apparent that the circus has closed up shop and Sebastian has been left in his cage to fend for himself. The townspeople decide it would be best to place the bear in a zoo, but Sugar and Clive feel that they would like to help Sebastian find his freedom At first the bear is reluctant, but after his brief separation from the circus, he decides they are right.

Clive and Sugar enlist island animal friends like Larry the Seagull, AnnMay, a Siamese cat, and a human friend, Stewart, to find a way to move the 500 pound bear off the island into a forested area where he could roam free. But the zookeepers are fast approaching, will they be able to carry out their daring plan?

I love the dialogue and clever conversations among the animals, and the ingenious solutions they come up to solve one problem after another. At just over one hundred pages this chapter book is just the right length to hold the interest of young readers and middle grade students with enough interesting plot twists and suspense. This book would be an excellent choice for a class read aloud and discussion book. Young animal and adventure lovers will not be able to put this one down.

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MAN’S BEST FRIEND

BENTLEY: Bags The Bear (Bentley and Friends)

Written by Michael Owen Jones

Illustrated by Emz Wright

Bentleybagsbear,pic

First in a series of early chapter books for beginning readers. Children will enjoy reading the large print and chapters of a few pages each. The main character is Bentley the dog who has adventures with animal friends and enemies like Rodney the Cat and Meezel the Weasel.

In the first chapter readers are introduced to the family including the children Rebecca and Jonathan as well as Aunt Fanny who promptly sits on the couch and breaks it. Bentley, the puppy, is always blamed for breaking things and getting into mischief; all he wants is to be helpful and loved. When Rebecca loses her stuffed bear named Old Fur Face, Bentley hatches an ambitious plan to seek out and find it. This leads to a series of adventures with Rodney, the cat who despises him, a swim in the ocean, an encounter with a weasel, and an unexpected surprise upon arriving home that evening. Does Bentley ever get the recognition he deserves and will Rebecca find the missing teddy bear? At the conclusion of the adventure, Jones gives an enticing preview of the next book in the series in which Bentley observes a monster looking in the window!

This promises to be a wonderful series for beginning readers. Jones seems to have found winning elements, a combination of endearing animal and family characters, humor, adventure, and family lessons to be shared. Highly recommend for young readers ages six through nine and for teachers looking to refresh their read aloud selections. Parents might also read a chapter a night as a bedtime story.

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PUPPY LOVE

Pippy and Beth

Written by Graham Denny

PippyandBethpic

This book explores the devastating issue of loss confronting a family when a pet dies. Denny writes a powerful tale to illustrate that journey of  a child named Beth, the young protagonist we meet at the beginning of the story who shares a wonderful relationship with her dog, Pippy.  The reader is introduced to Beth’s sad family at the vet’s office where they have brought Pippy to be put to sleep. Beth is distraught and has a tummy ache from eating too much of the ice cream at the fancy restaurant her parents have brought her to in an effort to distract her. Once back at home, Beth kisses Pippy’s picture and finally falls asleep.

Beth is soon awakened by a scratching sound. At first she thinks it is Valerie and Shelley, those horrible twins who make her life miserable at school. As she yells at them to go away, Beth realizes that Pippy is in the room and that he is TALKING TO HER! He warns her to hurry and leads her out the sliding door into the night. Pippy introduces Beth to other talking animal friends including sparrows, mice, a fox, a badger, rabbits and two cats. All of these are dressed eloquently like humans and act as if they were human. Beth finally gets the courage to ask Pippy if he knows that he has died. He explains that of course he does and continues to lead her through the woods to a grassy clearing. After eating a huge breakfast, they reach the top of a hill shrouded in mist. There is music, dance and laughter as Pippy walks down to the other side after saying his goodbyes.

Beth is saddened. What does all this mean? She does not know how to go on. But her parents have a solution, and Beth will eventually find the strength and courage to deal with Pippy’s death and all her other problems at school.

This book is a wonderful read as simply a love story between a child and pet, but it is such a valuable resource to help a family cope with loss turning that tragedy into a vehicle to make themselves stronger. Parents and teachers can use it as a guide for discussion on a very difficult topic.

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OZETTE’S ODYSSEY

Ozette’s Destiny: Tales From Farlandia

Written by Judy Pierce

Ozette's Destiny pic

Ozette is a beautiful white squirrel marked with just a touch of gray down her back and on her head. She has come to the forest known as Farlandia on the advice of her grandmother, The Divine Miss Piddlewinks, who had given her a golden acorn. Ozette had been blamed for the encroachment of humans into their world because she was different from other squirrels. Upon reaching Farlandia, she planted a golden acorn. The forest bloomed with life, fairies, elves, nature, royalty, and all sorts of mythical creatures.

This book will entertain anyone from age seven through seventy. Its characters spin a tale of adventures that teach many lessons, cooperation, team work, loyalty, bravery, self-sacrifice and numerous others. At the beginning of the book we meet a scruffy white dog named Duchess Zorina who got lost while exploring outside the palace of Queen Beatrix. This turns out to be the beginning of Ozette’s adventures as she and her friends rescue “ DK.” Ozette gets to ride on a unicorn to visit the palace. The Queen insists on rewarding Ozette, giving her a crown and making her queen of the forest. Ozette has long been the humble caretaker of the forest, and her friends involve her in many of their foibles. She experiences life as a hummingbird, rides a parachute, and has her fur dyed pink! She remains a steadfast friend and never deserts a friend in need, even when he has been sprayed by a skunk! Like a true mother hen, Ozette feels a responsibility for all the creatures of the forest. She does not fear responsibility, but she is never overbearing nor does she want to impose her will upon others.

There are many touches of humor. Oliver’s boxer shorts disappear only to emerge as an elaborate bungee jump game for Ozette’s coronation festivities. The spiders weave an elaborate web parachute for her that has been dyed lavender. The Spice Squirrels are singing on stage, while birds and cicadas maintain a steady beat! Oliver, the elf has been busy in his kitchen baking all sorts of goodies. In fact, the author provides a list of delicious recipes that the reader will enjoy making and eating after reading the book.

Young children will enjoy the book if it is broken up into chapters as a read aloud. Older children and adults will fly through its approximately 160 pages as the fast paced story will compel you into quickly finishing it. I am looking forward to reading many more of Ozette’s adventures and the nuggets of wisdom that she drops for us.

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SWITCHEROO

Woof: Two Short Stories

by: Dakota Douglas

Woofpic

This book consists of two short stories. These two stories are fairly easy to read with clear sentences. I think children aged six through nine will particularly identify with the characters and story line.

In the first book titled, A Dog’s Life, we meet Jeremy who has recently moved into the neighborhood. The children think he is stuck up and don’t ask him to play. For the last few days a dog that he has named Rufus has been following him everywhere. While Jeremy is watching the children play soccer, the dog suddenly jumps up and puts his paws on Jeremy. In a flash Jeremy has shrunk to the size of Rufus, and he is looking at a much larger version of himself. He has switched places with Rufus! As a dog, he diverts the ball and proves that he can really play soccer. The babysitter, Mrs. Peacock, has come to bring Jeremy home for dinner. But Jeremy is now a dog; he can only communicate by saying “Woof.” At the dinner table, he shocks his lawyer parents by flinging his steak to the carpet and clawing the floor. Meanwhile the real Jeremy is kept outside the house. Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Turner take their “son” to the doctor who tells them that he is acting out because they work long hours and don’t pay enough attention to their son. For the next few days, they take the dog, whom they believe to be their son, to the cinema, fairs and bowling. The parents reluctantly agree to keep the dog. Jeremy spends his days chasing cats and scrounging around looking for scraps of food. He begs his dog Rufus to change places and switch roles. Will he agree or will Jeremy be forced to remain a dog forever?

The second story is named, A Boy’s Best Friend.  In the beginning of the story, Jeremy is paying little attention to his dog Rufus because he is busy doing homework. Rufus is bored; he is tired of chasing cats. Later on, Jeremy and his dog Rufus are at the dinner table with Mr. and Mrs. Turner. Mr. Turner reads about a robbery in the neighborhood, but nobody seems to pay attention, Shortly after, Rufus discovers a hole under the fence which allows him to venture forth in the neighborhood. While Jeremy was at school and his parents at work, Rufus remembers seeing three men load boxes in a van. He now knows they must be the burglars. Frantically, he tries to get Jeremy’s attention and tell him, but he is unsuccessful. Can you guess what he will do to get Jeremy to follow him? Suddenly Jeremy Turner is acting strangely. Mrs. Peacock threatens to quit and chaos reigns. Will the burglars be apprehended?

What will happen to the members of the Turner family? Can things ever return to normal? You will have to read these two exciting adventures to find out.

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