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A Hurricane Katrina Dog's Survival Tale

by Jane Paley

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 28th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-201103-9
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Paley offers a first-person, present-tense account of a puppy’s journey through Hurricane Katrina, based on a true story.

Jimmy has quite the story to tell. His happy life in Lake Charles, La., is suddenly disrupted by a violent storm, and he is left alone and homeless. The fierce storm and Jimmy’s struggles to stay alive are described in unsparing detail. Jimmy barely escapes drowning and being eaten by a bobcat. Starving, he spots a nest of baby birds: “I lean over and snatch one. While the raft is rocking, I gobble it up. It’s so good, I grab a second bird without hesitating.” After being rescued from the flood waters, Jimmy describes the conditions he endures in an animal shelter before being adopted by a new family in New York. At first, Jimmy is not sure how he feels about his new life; his new “Dad” doesn’t seem to think much of him, and there are the small matters of a bully in the dog park and a new name, Hooper, to get used to. Adjustment brings contentment, and readers who have followed Jimmy/Hooper's odyssey will be satisfied with the ending.

A harsh but ultimately heartwarming story about moving forward after trauma and loss by making space for new loved ones and new possibilities. (Fiction. 9-12)