Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Review: Angus and Sadie (border collies, Maine farm, children)

Angus and Sadie, by Cynthia Voigt, Newbery medalist (Harper Collins, 2005, 194 pages, ages 8-12, paperback – 2008)

Written by Newberry medalist Cynthia Voigt, Angus and Sadie is a wonderfully fun, heart-warming story for both adults and children, so, here are different book reviews for each. Children first, then, tomorrow, the review for adult readers.

Children Will Love Angus - or Sadie – or Both

Angus and Sadie are border collie pups in Maine who live on a farm and sleep in the barn next to the cows’ stall. Angus helps Mister out on the farm while Sadie, more laid-back and less ambitious, competitive and energetic, helps Missus in the garden and house. (Perhap you can imagine your brother or sister in this book as Angus? Or Sadie?)

Like a big brother, even though the two are littermates, Angus loves to compete and learn. He is always the best (or thinks he is) and tries to teach Sadie everything he knows. Sadie, however, is happier just being Sadie, even though she can rise to the challenge of a lost sheep or standing up, finally, to the cats in the barn who love to scare her.

You will learn how these two dogs think: their thoughts appear in italics and it is easy to tell Sadie’s words from Angus’ words because, as very different personalities, they view the world differently and say different things. For example, Sadie gets side-tracked by the fragrant smells drifting her way during a spring training lesson while Angus barks at her to pay attention so she will learn and be a good, good pup.

Both dogs shine: e.g., both dogs find lost sheep at different times by using their own unique style. And both dogs grow up in their first year on the farm but have more learning and growing to do when the new family member arrives.

It might seem to be a long book at first for some young readers, but reading one chapter at a time is like reading one short story at a time – one a day, perhaps. You will love guessing what comes next: the chapter titles help but won’t spoil the surprise.  For example, “How Angus feels when Sadie is the hero.” Laid-back Sadie a hero? And “How everybody knows something but nobody knows everything, and it’s not a race” is the final chapter and children will realize that this sums up all the other chapters just fine and dandy.

Any Newbery award-winning author writes good books and Angus and Sadie is no exception. One paragraph early in chapter seven is simply the best I have ever seen and fits Angus and Sadie to a T! Check it out.

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