Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachan, 112 pages

Zoe’s father is a vet, and her mom has a passion for rescuing dogs in need, especially Great Pyrenees. The family provides a loving home for them until new owners can be found.

With the dogs, a talking parrot and a family which enjoys animals, Zoe’s house in the country is a lively, happy home.

Next door is a home which is silent and sad.  An unhappy young boy, Philip, is staying there for a time with his aunt and uncle while his parents “work on some difficulties”.  His aunt and uncle are well-meaning but awkward with children, and Philip has stopped speaking.

Zoe her sister, Alice, and Philip become friends. Gradually Philip comes out of his shell and begins to speak – not to people, but to the dogs and the parrot.  A special rapport is established between the boy and Jack, the youngest and newest dog to be rescued by Zoe’s family.  Perhaps each senses the other’s need for love and acceptance in the temporary homes in which they have been placed.

It is because of this bond that when a bad thunderstorm strikes late one night, with pounding rain and hail, thunder and lightning, that Philip is able to sense that Jack is in trouble. His fears are confirmed when he discovers that the young dog, terrified of the storm, has run off.  Philip finds Jack -  but they cannot find their way home. 

A happy and satisfying ending concludes this gentle, heart-warming story about acceptance, understanding and the strong bonds that can exist between people and animals. This story would be ideal for a family to share together. With its spare text and large print, it would also be a good choice for a child who is beginning to read chapter books.  

Like many of Patricia MacLachan’s stories, White Fur Flying is deceptively simple, but is filled with meaning and told with sensitivity.  MacLachan is the author of many children’s books, including Sarah Plain and Tall.

** Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years.

How to Greet a Dog and What to Avoid, by Sophia Yin, 24 pages.@ SPL:  J 636.70887 Yin

Children and adults alike can gain some useful advice from Sophia Yin’s little picture book, How to Greet a Dog and What to Avoid. 

Dogs often growl, snap or bite if they are approached by unfamiliar people in ways that they perceive as being threatening or rude. Even seemingly placid or small dogs can react in these ways. Yin supplies wise, practical advice such as approaching a dog slowly and calmly, not staring at a dog head on, not approaching a dog in a car and other tips on how to greet (and how not to greet) unfamiliar dogs.  

While such advice may be obvious to a dog owner, it won’t be obvious to a child who is unused to interacting with dogs. 
 Accompanied by humour and simple cartoon illustrations, Yin’s advice is dispensed in a light-hearted rather than a lecturing style.

The Stratford Public Library has many other books for both children and adults about the treatment and care of dogs and other pets.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years. 

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on June 20, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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