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SECONDHAND DOGS by Carolyn Crimi


by Carolyn Crimi ; illustrated by Melissa Manwill

Pub Date: July 6th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-298918-5
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

The arrival of a new dog threatens the stability, happiness, and safety of an established pack.

Gus, the first dog adopted by Miss Lottie, watches out for her growing pack of homeless canines: Tank, an aging bulldog; Roo, a nervous, hyperactive hunting dog; and Moon Pie, an engaging young pug. He appreciates Quinn, the neighbor boy who helps Miss Lottie care for her animals, and even gets along with Ghost, the elusive cat. When Miss Lottie introduces Decker, a confident, sleek, arrogant new dog, Gus knows it’s his job as pack leader to approve each new member, but he hesitates, as Decker unaccountably triggers negative feelings. With the other dogs waiting, Gus indecisively acquiesces, but his misgivings soon prove justified. A toxic bully, Decker rapidly undermines Gus, maligns Tank, intimidates Roo, and tricks Moon Pie into running away. Suddenly, Miss Lottie’s happy family shatters, and Gus knows he must rally everyone to search for missing Moon Pie before it’s too late. The story unfolds from the multiple, alternating perspectives of Gus, Tank, Roo, Moon Pie, Decker, Ghost, Miss Lottie, and Quinn as their personal backstories and motivations gradually emerge, adding depth and insight. Pervading themes of bullying, leadership, loyalty, and family—among humans and canines alike—raise important issues while the comic-style illustrations feature character cameos and highlight key scenes. Human characters default to White.

A sensitive, satisfying, and intriguing canine tale.

(Animal fiction. 8-10)