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Angels on a School Bus


An emotional ride for pet lovers that provides some valuable instruction on citizen action and kindness.

Debut author Ray tells the story of what she calls one of the largest dog rescues in American history, when animal lovers in Montana united to save more than 100ill-treated canines from a vagrant breeder.

The author was living in Butte, Montana, in the fall of 2008, when a school bus driven by a drifter broke down within the city limits. A local custodian sounded an alarm over its contents: more than 100 large dogs, mostly white German shepherds and huskies. They were crammed in and living in filthy conditions, as part of the driver’s misguided scheme to use them as Iditarod sled-pullers in Alaska. After the man was arrested by police for animal cruelty, city animal control officers seemed unable to solve the dog problem, so concerned residents created “Camp Husky,” a grass-roots emergency service for caring for the diseased, frightened canines. Many of the female dogs were pregnant, so the team soon had some 200 dogs to place with new owners. Ray pays tribute to the volunteers behind Camp Husky and also takes whacks at the bureaucrats of the city’s Animal Services, portraying them as people who simply didn’t want to do their jobs and who had a number of the dogs summarily killed, claiming inaccurately that they were wolf or coyote hybrids. The bulk of the book is sentimental in tone, providing an anthology of tales of particular, adopted dogs, their rehabilitations from trauma and sicknesses, and the affections they ultimately had for their new owners (although, sometimes, initial adoptions didn’t work out). This anecdotal material, however, tends to overshadow the book’s theme of how DIY action worked when government action didn’t. Also, Ray doesn’t strongly weigh in on the controversy regarding the use of pet-breeding enterprises when shelters are overfilled with animals. Her closing chapter, though, effectively widens the scope of the book to argue for improved animal welfare and humanitarianism across the spectrum—and few will argue with that.

An emotional ride for pet lovers that provides some valuable instruction on citizen action and kindness. 

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5173-5752-8

Page Count: 294

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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