Monday, January 17, 2011
As readers, we bring our lives and interests and experiences to the books we read. That's part of why some books resonate more strongly with some of us than with others. I spent a lot of time avoiding animal stories, because chances were, in my mind, pretty high those stories were going to be sad. But now, I'm reading dog stories like never before. And they're cuter and funnier, and I enjoy them probably more than I would if I couldn't relate on some level. Don't get me wrong - I'm still not going to read books where the dog dies (yes, I know that's an issue I will have to face someday, but today is not someday), and I don't even like books where dogs are abandoned or lost; in other words, I still don't want sad animal stories. However, there are so many great, happy dog books out there! Periodically, I'll post a "Paisley's Pick" to highlight some of my favorites.
We'll start today with an oldie but goodie - No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. It's the perfect start to this series. Our hero, Wallace Wallace, writes a less than stellar review of Old Shep, My Pal for his English class. His teacher, who absolutely loves this book, is less than pleased. He talks about the sad ending, calling it a "heartbreaking surprise." Wallace replies that he knew the dog was going to die before he started reading the book. When asked how he knew, he says, "Because the dog always dies. Go the library and pick out any book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down." (p.5)
One thing you should know about Wallace Wallace - he does not lie. Ever. So when given the opportunity to do a rewrite, he doesn't change his opinion, and is given detention and forced to miss football practice. He finds himself serving detention at play rehearsals for a play based on...wait for it...Old Shep, My Pal. Wallace slowly takes over as director of the play, which grows seemingly more and more over the top each day. With a star of the play who writes diary-type letters to Julia Roberts, someone who is out to sabotage the play, and a football team that just can't win, this book is pure fun.