Thursday, December 8, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

Snowflake Comes to Stay, by Karel Hayes, 30 pages.

Living by herself, author Harriet Harrington was very accustomed to being alone. She needed peace and concentration for her writing.
But one day, nothing Harriet wrote seemed right. The same thing happened the next day, and the next. Nothing helped. Harriet, it seemed, had “writer’s block”.
One day her friend, Monique, who raised dogs, phoned her. “I have just the dog for you!” she announced.
Monique had been trying for years to get Harriet to take one of her dogs. This time, she wouldn’t take “No” for an answer, so Harriet cautiously agreed to take a puppy – just for a week.
The little white puppy, Snowflake, explored Harriet’s house right away. She liked everything about her new home, both outside and inside - except for the noisy vacuum cleaner. She found many things to play with …and lots of things that she loved to chew: scarves, mittens, slippers, paper, and even Harriet’s dictionary!
Snowflake quickly grew to love Harriet, who, despite herself, became very fond of the mischievous little dog. They did many things together. Harriet even began to write again, and was able, finally, to finish her latest book. She was very pleased and thought that it was her best book yet!
That night, however, Snowflake couldn’t sleep. Feeling hungry, she explored the house and came across the manuscript of Harriet’s brand-new book …and couldn’t resist chewing it up!
Needless to say, on the following morning, Harriet was very upset.
Readers might be able to guess what became of this crisis in this delightfully- illustrated, charming story which, in the end, concludes happily.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

Hooper Finds a Family: A Hurricane Katrina Survival Tale, by Jane Paley, 137 pages.

A second story about a little dog who found a new home is Jane Paley’s Hooper Finds a Family.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana, Hooper, a little yellow Labrador, was left homeless. Swept from his home by the water that was quickly flooding his neighbourhood, the young dog was finally able to latch on to a roof, and was later rescued by a man with a boat. He was taken to a pet shelter that was overflowing with countless “Katrina pets”.
There, Hooper learned to cope with the crowded conditions and the occasional bullying from bigger dogs, but he longed for his owners to come and get him. Over time, he accepted that this was unlikely to happen, and he began to wish that a new family would take him home.
One day, it happened …Hooper was chosen by a new family.
But happy as he was to be adopted, there were still challenges to be met. His new family lived in New York, and Hooper had to adjust to living in a large city instead of in the country. His new family was still mourning a former pet, and it took time for the little Lab to be fully accepted. It didn’t help that Hooper had lost his bark and acquired a great fear of water due to the trauma of nearly drowning in the floods of Hurricane Katrina.
Eventually the feisty little dog became a beloved member of his new family.
Jane Paley’s touching story is based on an actual event. Hundreds of pets were left homeless by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.
Fortunately, Hooper’s story, at least, ended happily.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 11 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 8th. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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