Saturday, February 1, 2014

Best Darn Dog Books (of 2013) for Children and Youngsters (and some classics!)


EverythingDogBlog # 117: Worth Reading!
Here it is! EverythingDogBlog’s Best Darn Dog Books of 2013! (Part One – Books for Children and Youngsters)
I have been sweating writing this post since November. I haven’t read as many dog books this year – spent more time posting here on EverythingDogBlog or on my webpage (www.EverythingDogBlog.BlogSpot.com) - about four times more than last year. Plus I read more non-dog best sellers this year. And, just like in the movies, too many books come out in December, for gift-giving, I suppose (and rapid reading by reviewers).
You might also be interested in reading my series on EverythingDogBlog titled “The Twelve Dog Days of Christmas.” Each day I selected “a few of my favorite things” – best dog collars, best food puzzles, best dog artists, best dog leashes, best (new) dog toys, best treat toys (including stuffables), etc. Day Two can be read here.
However, I did manage to scrape together a few of my favorite books, after consulting the DWAA (Dog Writer’s Association of America) list of finalists, Barnes and Noble’s list, GoodRead’s list, and BARk’s books reviewed during the year. Again, I give you the A-List, the B-List, a Promising List (that I didn’t get around to reading), and my Others List. My lists also include a few titles that are so noteworthy from previous years that I just had to include them. For last year’s list, see this post from January 4, 2012.
Earlier this year (2014), I wrote about the Best Darn Dog Stuff for 2012 here:  I combined the Stuff list and the Book list but this year, they are separate. So, without further ado. . . .
The A-List (click on the links to take you to my review of the book)
Children: In chronological order, the first five books all tie for first place in my mind (only one was published in 2013). More children’s books will appear in Part Two which includes the rest of my A-List, my B-List, the Promising List, An ‘Other’ List, and more.
A Vacation for Pooch, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Henry Holt, 2013, $16.99, 32 pages, children 4-7, preschool – grade 2. Separation. Love. Dogs and their kids. With a surprise ending. 
The Bedtime Book for Dogs by Bruce Littlefield (Grand Central Publishing, 2011, $15.95, 28 pages, ages 4 and up) A bedtime book for dogs and kids and adults. Lovely. Good dogs. Watch author Littlefield read part of The Bedtime Book to his own good dog, Westminster, here: http://bedtimebookfordogs.com/?page_id=83 
The Blue House Dog, by Deborah Blumenthal, Peachtree Publishing, 2010, $15.95, children 4-8. Bones becomes the neighborhood stray when a little boy tries to befriend him. How he succeeds is worth a discussion. 
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems (Simon and Schuster, 2010, 64 pages, $17.00, ages 3-6) The beauty and sadness of the passing seasons in the country as a dog makes friends who leave all too soon. Reminiscent of Charlotte’s Web. 
A Home for Dakota by Jan Grover (Gryphon, 2008, 24 pages, $15.95, ages 5 and up, in the Sit! Stay! Read! series) A lovely kid’s book for grown-ups that we all need to read. The lesson is about puppy mills. Probably the best book in many years! 
Muddypaws and the Birthday PartyA Story about Birthdays, Balloons and Best Friends, by Deborah Chancellor, Parragon, 2009, 7.99$, 32 pages. (The sequel to Muddy Paws, by Moira Butterfield, Parragon, 2008, 5$, ages 4-8) Muddypaws Goes to School, by Peter Bently, Parragon, 2011, 7.99$, 32 pages. Lovely books about a golden retriever puppy and his boy. Of course, MuddyPaws is a good name for this pup! These are just plain fun.

Bailey by Harry Bliss (the New Yorker magazine’s cover artist and cartoonist), Scholastic Press, 2011, 32 pages, $16.99, ages 3 and up) My kind of dog – loves school, especially lunch and recess. Always late for the morning school bus because he can’t decide to wear the red collar or the blue one. Just plain fun.
Older Youngsters: Sheep, by Valerie Hobbs (Scholastic, 2006, $5.99 [PB], 115 pages, ages 8 - 12) A classic. Constantly Seeking Sheep. In the style of Black Beauty.
Stay! Keeper’s Story, by Lois Lowry, 1997, Houghton Mifflin, 128 pp, $5.50 ($15 when first published as a hardback), ages 9-12. I have to include this Lois Lowry book! A very good dog story, too. Keeper searches for a child of his own and makes good along the way. For adults, too.
Remember: You are never too old to read a children's book, especially to a child.
Caveat: These reviews appear on EverythingDogBlog here or at www.DogEvals.BlogSpot.com. Books were either checked out from a public library or purchased for review with the exceptio of The Blue House Dog which was sent to me for review.
(This article first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com on 17 January 2014.)

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