Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review of Lad: A Dog

Lad: A Dog, by Albert Payson Terhune

5 stars!

Description: Lad is a collie of Sunnybank's countryside estate in the glory days before World War II. The book follows him through his life as he meets with one challenge after another; burglars, vicious dogs, the wiles of scheming neighbors, and all the stuff of life that puzzles a loyal dog who just wants to live in peace. The outrageous mischievousness of his fellow collie, Lady, Lad meets with a mixture of adoration and hopeless bewilderment; the very real danger of poisonous snakes and raging bulls, he meets with immediate courage. The last battle in this chronicle of his life is nothing less than breath-taking -- and heartbreaking.

Concerns: None.

Summary: Yes, I'm a sucker for a dog story. Lad: A Dog is a classic. The book is somewhat antiquated. If you're turned off by old-timey, slightly sentimental and moralistic tales, it might not be your style -- but if you like a dog story, you've got try it just because! Terhune wrote dozens of books about collies, and Lad is a multi-generational favorite. Doesn't everybody want a dog dog tough enough to defeat burglars, sheep-killing dogs and copperheads alike? This story -- although admittedly much embellished -- is based on true life story of a grand collie. If you like dogs, it's a must-read.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review of Hank the Cowdog: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Hank the Cowdog: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, by John R. Erickson

5 stars!

Description: Hank the Cowdog is Head of Ranch Security. The chickens are his responsibility. Whatever has been killing the chickens is, therefore, his problem. But life is so DIFFICULT when you have responsibilities. What if you can't figure out who the chief suspect is? When you have so much to deal with -- the neighbor's collie, a devious mailman, the vicious horses in the pasture -- even the toughest law enforcement officers get worn down. And what happens if the chief suspect is... you?

Concerns: This one is pretty reasonable (name-calling), but other books in the 50+ series have some tasteless moments. Dogs are like that every now and then.

Summary: Life from the eyes of a redneck dog! If you've ever wondered anything about what the world looks like when you've got four legs, a tail and perpetual fleas, here's your answer. It's a riot. Hank is the perfect boneheaded dog, and his ranch is everything you could hope for as a setting for a Texas Rangers mystery... canine style.

**Note: There's well over 50 book in the series. It's unlikely they'll all get reviewed, so this is a favorite.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review of Naya Nuki

Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran, by Kenneth Thomasma  

4 stars 

Description: Shoshoni girls Naya Nuki and Sacajawea live in an Indian village in Montana. The Shoshoni are a strong and brave tribe, but as they travel to the prairie to hunt buffalo, their trip is overshadowed by one terrifying fear: the Minnetare tribe. The Minnetare have a history of attacking the Shoshoni, killing warriors and taking prisoners.  With every step toward the prairie, the risk of enemy attack grows stronger, but it is a risk that will have to be faced – if Naya Nuki’s people don’t get buffalo, they will starve. One fateful day, their fear becomes reality as scouts gallop into camp with the horrifying news: the enemy is near. Naya Nuki, Sacajawea, and others are taken captive and find themselves forced to walk the one thousand miles to the Minnetare village in North Dakota. Every day, escape grows in Naya Nuki’s mind… but the penalty for an attempted escape is death. Will Naya Nuki survive not only the imminent Minnetare chase, but also the dangers of traveling so far in the wildness alone?

Concerns: As a story about Indians, the book contains Indian traditions that are sometimes less than scenic, as well as references to the “Great Spirit”.

Summary:  Naya Nuki is a brave eleven year-old whose wildness survival savvy is remarkable. Travel with her as she battles the challenges of the wild including an encounter with a fierce grizzly, the relentless pursuit of the Minnetare, and a near-fatal buffalo stampede. This extraordinary story has excitement and suspense throughout and combined with the courage and wit of Naya Nuki, it is no less than exceptional.