My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.
If you have ever been able to count the number of teeth in a dogs mouth while it yawns then you are probably dealing with an old dog. Mouse is an old dog with thin droopy ears who is a little over weight and moves real slow.
The little girl with the androgynous hairstyle loves the old dog and always asks the owner if she can take him for a walk.
Wearing her flared green dress with black tights and her back pack she takes Mouse for a walk around the block, through the park, right turn and home again.
They both love it and are clearly comfortable together. This is the way it should be.
“I wish Mouse was mine” the little girl says after dropping him off. The last page will put a lump in your throat. Don’t miss this one. Great for studying pets and reading aloud to juniors.
The illustrations are laid back. Easy autumnal water colours accompanied with pencil etchings. The illustrations also make social commentary – the supermarket trolley left behind, the cigarette butts on the ground outside for smokers.
A Different Dog by Paul Jennings. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.
Fans of Paul Jennings will not be disappointed in this long short story. Just over 80 pages of writing that will keep you on edge and keep you guessing to the end.
The boy who narrates the story is known only as the boy. He never speaks but once owned a dog called Deefer whose fate is crucial to the story. The boy lives with his mother and they are very poor but both want to break that poverty thing.
Although the boy never talks you know what he is thinking. He has no friends and is harangued at school but an adventure in which a vehicle leaves the road and kills the owner leaving another dog, is to change the boy’s life. Read it and see how.
The illustrations by Geoff Kelly in black and white pen are a critical part of this story
Superbly constructed by a master storyteller for reluctant readers of intermediate and secondary school age.
A Day With Dogs by Dorothee de Monfreid. Pub. Gecko Press, 2016.
This is a picture book that is meant to be pawed over if you will excuse the pun. It is about 22 breeds of dogs who you have seen before in books by the same author (a link is at bottom of this review).
The covers are thick cardboard and the pages are double thick so they can be turned often.
It starts with a profile of the house in which the dogs live and it takes the reader from the morning bathroom activities to bed at night. In between time we have the clothes they wear, town and country environments the things they learn at school like the alphabet and numbers 1 to 11, the food they eat and everything else too.
The dogs have names and you can follow each dog as they go through the day. The illustrations are big and bold in bright colours with the detail enough to have a child looking for ages. Each item or activity is named in block letters so that words can be learned.
I can’t tell you anymore its just great so go and get it. Pre schoolers and juniors will love it.
Frankie Potts loves mysteries and in this first book of a new series for readers aged 7 years-10 years the mystery starts out when she finds a dog outside Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe.
The dog shows a lot of skills. he can dance, turn in circles, skate board and seems to understand everything humans say. Frankie calls him Sparkplug and pleads with her parents to keep him.
Enter Frankie’s grandma who is known as the Formidable Mildred and she seems to have an immediate rapport with the dog. Grandma also has many secrets and a secret tattoo.
When the circus comes to town many mysteries are revealed. At the end of each chapter Frankie sums up all the mysteries that have been created in a list. But the list is to change quickly.
Fantastic little story for newly confident readers beautifully illustrated by Phoebe Morris who captures the personality of all the characters with my favourite being the bully Ralph Peter-McGee. Isn’t it a mystery that so many bullies have hyphenated names.
It is said that you can’t go wrong with a good animal story because children and adults mostly have a great deal of affection for pets.
This 80 page, easy to read story of a coddled Pekinese dog named Andrew will enchant any reader who is a pet fan.
Andrew has an aging owner whose grandson thinks Andrew is a bit soft and needs toughening up. Andrew is a bit overweight and loves comfort but still has the spring of youth in him at times. A holiday to Lake Ferry on the Wairarapa coast tests Andrew to the full. He meets a seal goes crayfishing, swims in the sea and plays football with the boys.
It’s all quite exhausting for the poor dog but he comes through it well.
Nicely illustrated by Fifi Colston and the photographs of the real people mentioned in the story are perfect. I didn’t tell you about the eel so read this book and find out.
It matters nought that this story of a dog who went to World War 1 with a New Zealand is true or not. Many animals were used in WW1 including dogs, horses, donkeys and pigeons and it is possible that some dogs got into the trenches.
This story was based on the Regimental mascot of the NZ Rifle brigade Freda a harlequin Great Dane. Peter Millett has given Freda’s story a very human touch. As a puppy the dog could not be kept by Lucy and her family and was given away to a young soldier on his way to fight in France.
As the war stretched on Freda grew up and became comforting to soldiers in the most dreadful of wars. Told in Peter Millett’s well paced simple dialogue and superbly illustrated by Trish Bowles water colour illustrations. The dog in the soldiers pocket is charming as is Fredas first encounter with rats.
The war scenes are as real as they can be without the gore. The presence of the dog enhances the fact that the soldiers are human beigs fighting a war that should never have happend.
The ending has the young soldier, now a man, united with the young girl, now a woman and Freda who is something special. positive stuff.
I hoped there was another Margaret Mahy lurking around somewhere, this is it and it is a beauty.
Tom and his mum moved into Prodigy Street on Thursday, a street that is dominated by cats and sorely needs a dog or two to even things up. On the Sunday Tomasz Mirabilis in his flowing black cloak with red lining moves into the red roofed house at the end of the street with his magical dog Najki.
Najki has a wagger that moves up and down and it grants wishes but be careful what you wish for it may come true. Careless wishing can cause problems and it does.
Tom strikes up a friendship with Mr Mirabilis and Najki and also with Sarah a cat lover from down the street. They go to the Farfetched school and have rivals at the Weasel school from across town and also from a boy gang called the Cat-kickers. Both are going to be dealt with by Najki’s wishing tale.
Oh but things go wrong. A wild cat named Miaouler the Yowler delivers a frenzied attack on Najki and suddeenly all is different again. But in true Margaret Mahy fashion, the ordinary world for the children now seems so extraordinary. Positive to the end.
Brilliant writing with the usual emphasis on language. This is Margaret’s forte and she doesn’t let you down.
The inimitable Tony Ross illustrates in his usual way with understated physical features but hugely expressive faces on both humans and animals. The illustration of Miriabilis at the beginning of chapter one sets the pattern for things to come.
Delicious read for primary children and for adults who like clever writing.