Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shaggy-dog stories, for the canine lover

Some folk are cat people, others are dog people. Which are you? Here are books about "man's best friend" -- they may be furry and all have tails, but they're not all cuddly! Look for these here on BookBag: find a copy at your local library by searching on the WorldCatalog box, or use the Amazon search box to buy a copy.

A Dog for Life, by L. S. Matthews (Delacorte Press) Fiction. Brothers Tom and John are so close that they sometimes dream the same dream at night, and they also share a telepathic connection with their dog, Mouse. When Tom becomes ill and the doctor forbids the family from having any pets, both brothers are horrified by the prospect of losing Mouse. John sets out on a wild and crazy journey, with Mouse in tow, in an attempt to find their dog a temporary home with a long-lost uncle. Full of rollicking adventures, this funny, exaggerated, and magical "tail" shows what lengths a couple of boys will go to in order to keep a beloved canine.

Wild Dogs: Past & Present, by Kelly Milner Halls (Darby Creek) Nonfiction. If you're only acquainted with Pekingese, poodles, or other pets, you've met merely a twig's worth on the family tree. Wild dogs of today and their ancestors, who have traversed the planet since right after the dinosaurs, are the subject of this book filled with pictures, fascinating facts, and even a bit of folklore. Taking a close look at the various sorts of dogs living in habitats all over the world--from wolves to dingoes to coyotes and more -- Wild Dogs will give you an appreciation for your pampered pooch's untamed relatives.

Waggit's Tale, by Peter Howe; illustrated by Omar Rayyan (HarperCollins) Fiction. After running frantically all day around the big city park where his owner abandoned him, a small white puppy is taken in by a pack of wild dogs who live there. Learning how to survive from pack-leader Tazar and the rest of the strays, Waggit also earns a name when he can't seem to stop wagging. It's a hard life in the park; food is scarce, and Tazar's crew competes with another pack for it. But as long as they steer clear of the park rangers who want to send them to the Great Unknown (the pound), Tazar and his hardscrabble pack are, at least, free. If you like tales of adventure and survival, this dog story is the one for you.

White Star: A Dog on the Titanic, by Marty Crisp (Holiday House) Fiction. Twelve-year-old Sam Harris is sailing on the Titanic to America, where he is to see his mother for the first time in six years and meet his new stepfather. He's understandably nervous about his new life--but luckily, there are dogs on board the ship, and Sam spends most of his time hanging around the kennels and wishing that one special Irish setter named White Star could be his. But then disaster strikes--and amid the watery chaos, Sam is determined not to leave White Star behind. With bits of little-known history woven into its story, White Star is a gripping tale of survival for dog lovers and adventure fans alike.

City of Dogs, by Livi Michael (G.P. Putnam's Sons) Animal Fantasy. When Sam gets a puppy from Auntie Dot on his birthday, he has no idea that his new companion has been charged with saving the universe. As it turns out, Jenny, the scared little dog that Sam's aunt nearly ran over with her car, had just been fleeing the end of the world in another dimension. Now the peril of Jenny's former world threatens this one, and she must recruit help--a raggedy bunch of neighborhood dogs--to prevent the ultimate destruction of all Nine Worlds. With many wonderful canine characters, a dizzyingly complex plot, and elements of Norse and Greek mythology woven into its story, this exciting book is a sure bet for dog-loving fantasy fans.

Hachiko Waits, by Lesléa Newman; illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira (Henry Holt) Fiction. Every day, Professor Elizaburo Ueno tells his dog Hachi the same thing: "Hachi, you are the best dog in all of Japan." And every day, Hachi follows Professor Ueno to the train station, returns home, and later shows up promptly at three o'clock to greet his master and walk home with him. After the professor dies suddenly at work one day, Hachi is at the train station at 3:00 pm as always. Although friends of Professor Ueno's try to take Hachi in, he is unswerving in his loyalty and his hope that his master will return--so much so that he waits at the station every day for ten years. This fictional version of a true story, while heartbreaking, is also a great tribute to one very noble and faithful dog.

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