SHELTER DOGS

AMAZING STORIES OF ADOPTED STRAYS

An amiable collection of short anecdotes about unwanted dogs who were dumped at animal shelters by their owners; Kehret (Small Steps, 1996, etc.) tells of eight strays who were subsequently adopted and accomplished great things. Tracker, who “began life unwanted and unloved, as do far too many puppies,” went on to become a movie star. Kirby’s owner died and snapped and snarled at everyone; he was about to be euthanatized when a shelter worker said softly, “Hey, Kirby. Want to go for a walk?” and the dog’s personality changed; he recognized the invitation and forever after was a loving dog. Joey was trained as a “service dog” by her owner, who has multiple sclerosis; Joey performs such tasks as picking up dropped items, opening doors and cupboards, and helping her owner’s mobility. The most amazing story dog is Bridgette, who was able to predict, by picking up “subtle shifts in body odor and electromagnetic fields,” when someone was going to have a seizure. This allowed her owner to lay down before a seizure. The hoards of dog-lovers out there will not find these incidents astonishing, but vindication, so there’s a ready audience to cry over and gasp at the tale behind every dog. (b&w photos, notes) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8075-7334-5

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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PIGS

Gibbons’s 100th book is devoted to presenting swine in a positive light; she quickly demystifies the stereotypes that cast pigs as smelly, dirty, greedy, and dull. Descended and domesticated from the wild boar, pigs come in hundreds of varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes; in simple language, the book outlines their characteristics, breeds, intelligence, communication, habits, and uses. The author distinguishes the various terms—hog, swine, gilt, sow, boar—while also explaining the act of wallowing in mud. The bulk of the text is characteristically factual, but Gibbons allows herself an opinion or two: “They are cute and lovable with their curly tails, their flat pink snouts and their noisy squeals and grunts.” Pen-and-watercolor drawings show sprightly pigs and a plethora of pink-cheeked children in tranquil farm scenes. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1441-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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