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Read Some Books and Celebrate National Dog Day!


Today is National Dog Day! I didn’t have a dog when I was growing up, but we did have two dogs (at different times) after my husband and I got married.

We got our first dog, Skipper, because our son had been begging for a dog when I found out we were having another baby. So we ended up with a new puppy and a new baby at the same time.

Skipper was more of an outside dog. We had him in a large fenced yard, but that didn’t hold him back. He would jump over the fence and visit the neighbors around the block. Once when we were walking him, an older lady sitting on her porch said to us, “Oh, I see you have my dog!” That’s when I found out that Skipper led a double life.

Skipper was the main character in a true story that I wrote for Guideposts magazine in 2007. It involved building a stable for our new outdoor Christmas nativity scene and our ‘lost’ dog. It ended finding Skipper snuggled up next to the Baby Jesus in the stable in our front yard.

Our second dog, Snickers, was the inspiration for my picture book NAME THAT DOG! Puppy Poems from A to Z. Snickers was more of an indoor dog, though she loved being outside. We got her when our youngest daughter was in high school, so I had more time to get attached to this dog. She’s in many of the poems in my book.

Pets are a great inspiration in many ways. Here are some of my favorite books about dogs, including some classics from the past.

A PET FOR MISS WRIGHT, by Judy Young, illustrated by Andrea Wesson, Sleeping Bear Press 2011
Miss Wright is a writer, and writing is a lonely job. She decides that she needs a pet to keep her company, but finding the perfect pet for a writer is not easy. Find out what makes a dog the perfect pet in this book.

PINKERTON, BEHAVE! by author/illustrator Steven Kellogg, Dial Books for Young Readers 1979
Pinkerton is a loveable puppy, but he just won’t behave. He sets a bad example for the other dogs and flunks out of obedience school. But when a burglar comes into their home, it takes a little girl to know just the right commands. Anyone who has had a new puppy will relate to Pinkerton and his family in this book.

THE HALLO-WIENER, by author/illustrator Dav Pilkey, The Blue Sky Press and Scholastic 1995
The other dogs tease Oscar because he is short and long. But sometimes using what makes you a little bit different can save the day.

PRETZEL, by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, Harper and Row and Scholastic 1944
Pretzel started out just like his brothers and sisters, but by the time he was grown he was the longest dachshund in the world. Read about the different ways that Pretzel uses his special size, and how he wins the heart of Greta in this story.

BARK, GEORGE, by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins 1999
When George's mother tells her son to bark, he meows. She tries again and he quacks, oinks and moos. George is a dog and something’s definitely not right. So his mother takes him to the vet, who finds some interesting things when he reaches down George’s throat.

The BISCUIT books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins I Can Read series of books about a puppy and his adventures.
http://alyssacapucilli.com/books-category/world-of-biscuit/

The HENRY AND MUDGE books by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin Ready to Read series of books about Henry and his big dog, Mudge.

Books about HARRY by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, and the books about BENJY by Margaret Bloy Graham, Harper & Row and Weekly Reader Books.

A couple of middle grade books about dogs that I like are:

LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech, HarperCollins 2001
This novel in verse is told from the viewpoint of Jack, the main character, as he learns to enjoy writing poetry when he writes about his dog. A great introduction to novels in verse, this one is hard to put down once you begin.

ADVENTURES OF PACHELOT, books one, two and three, by Wendy Caszatt-Allen, Mackinac Island Press 2007
Travel back in time with fur traders, sailors and Native Americans as Pachelot, an Australian Shepherd, tells his story of life in the wilderness with the early explorers in the seventh century.  Read More 
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More Stories in the Park

What’s better than a walk around the lake? How about a Storybook Walk around the lake on a beautiful summer evening! BARK, GEORGE! by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer was the featured picture book on the Storybook Walk at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Missouri last month. Three of our grandchildren were visiting, so we decided to make an unofficial stop and check it out.

When George's mother tells her son to bark, he meows. She tries again and he quacks, oinks and moos. George is a dog and something’s definitely not right. So his mother takes him to the vet, who finds some interesting things when he reaches down George’s throat. Our four-year old granddaughter used her imagination to add even more hilarity to the story!

BARK, GEORGE, by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins 1999

Last week I took home a new bunch of picture books from our local library. Here are just a few of my favorites out of the two bags that I checked out.

MEMOIRS OF A HAMSTER by Devin Scillian, Illustrated by Tim Bowers, Sleeping Bear Press 2013
Seymour has the perfect life—a bowl of seeds, a cozy pile of wood shavings, and room to run. He never wants to leave. Until Pearl the cat convinces him that life outside his cage is even better. If you’ve ever had a hamster (or not) you’ll love this book about Seymour’s adventure. Illustrations are colorful and a great compliment to the text.

LIBRARY LION by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Candlewick 2006

One day a lion enters the library, upsetting Mr. McBee who works there. Since there are no rules about lions in a library, the lion makes himself at home. While he waits for story hour, he makes himself useful, helping the staff and the people who come to the library. However, when the librarian falls and the lion is caught running and being loud, things change. Is there ever a good reason to break the rules? Find out in this story. Illustrations fit the quiet atmosphere of a library and compliment the story, adding detail.

GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Disney Hyperion, 2015

The Truman Elementary Troublemakers were a bad bunch. Cap’n Gatastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May did not follow the rules, and pretty much made school miserable for everyone. Then Ginny Louise came to school. Find out if she has what it takes to turn things around when she is challenged to a show-down. Colorful, fun illustrations and lots of play on words make this a fun book for readers young and old.

WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin, Roaring Brook Press 2015

“Water is water, unless…” I love the format of this book about water and its different forms—steam, clouds, fog or rain for example. Information is simply presented, in a wonderful poetic voice. More information is given at the end in greater detail. The book is illustrated in beautiful paintings, showing the different seasons and adding to the information presented in the text.

Click on the link below the picture to find out more about the Storybook Walk at St. Charles Community College!  Read More 
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