Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review of Doggy Dare

I allow my students to go with me to our school library to pick out books for the classroom. This year, I am fortunate enough to have a couple of children who are already making their way through some simple chapter books. (Yes, even in kindergarten!) Some are reading independently, while others can make out some of the words and just want me to read their choices to the class. One book chosen was Doggy Dare by Ben M. Baglio.

This is Book #12 in the Animal Ark series. Animal Ark is the name of the veterinary clinic where Mandy Hope lives with her parents. Because she is around her parents' practice all the time, she has always been a big lover of animals. She and her best friend James often have many adventures involving animals.

In this book, a new boy named Joey joins Mandy's class. He has been deaf for about two years now. He can read lips and Mandy is his class helper. A little stray dog has attached himself to Joey, and seems to intuitively know how to protect Joey. He really wants to keep the dog, whom he has named Scruff, but his mother says no. She was bitten by a dog when she was a child and does not like them.

Mandy and James see the benefit that Scruff is to Joey. Scruff can get Joey's attention even if they cannot. They beg Joey's mom to give them a chance to train Scruff to be Joey's hearing dog. She agrees, with certain conditions. They also have to try hard to locate Scruff's real owners. Will they be able to pull it off?

This book is very sweet, with a reading level of 3. It can bring awareness to children about the deaf community, opening up lots of discussion in the classroom. The vocabulary and story are simple enough to engage an independent reader, as well as making for a good read aloud book. My students really enjoy it.

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