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Dog Diaries #1: Ginger by Kate Klimo

Dog Diaries #1: Ginger

by Kate Klimo

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Starting from Ginger's life as a puppy, with her littermates and mother and following her through all of her different residences and humans, Ginger (Dog Diaries #1) is told from Ginger's point of view. Seeing things through a puppy's eyes - and then a dog's as Ginger grows - is a unique way to look at things that we've likely either not looked twice at or never paid any attention to in the first place.

It's a great way to get the, sometimes heavy handed, message that Ginger has across. While it's definitely easier for readers to connect with Ginger with her telling the story than if it were told in the third person (or dog?), a few places felt like they were pushing a point just a bit more than necessary. A conversation one character has with a veterinarian, for example, seemed not very realistic but did make a point.

There is great information in Ginger on how to care for a puppy. As it's not the basic step-by-step how-to book, it may appeal to a different set of readers, as well. There are things in the novel that I think some adults even don't always consider when adding a new dog (a puppy, especially) to the family and it's great that they're included here.

The situation that the 'escape' in the synopsis refers to was a good point to have in the story - a good what 'not' to do. It's too bad there wasn't a what 'to' do either in the story or in the appendix (for reference, reassurance, etc).

Ginger and her story do well in telling what really owning a dog is like - that it takes responsibility, know how, patience, and forethought. Klimo's book isn't one that's going to glorify owning a dog and make everyone want to rush out and get a golden retriever, but it also shows the joys of having a pet, a true best friend.

While absolutely applaud Ginger for having the message that adoption of pets is better than from a breeder or, in Ginger's case, a puppy mill and pet store situation, but I felt it could have been done with a bit more grace, especially given the target age of the book. It seems possible to convince elementary readers that they should adopt their first/next dog without making them feel bad if the family pet they currently have was bought. It's possible the author and I just differ on how to get a message across.

Jessell's illustrations are fun and it's nice to be able to actually see Ginger at the different stages in her life. The black and white works very well within the book and the art contributes to the story.

  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307978990, Paperback)

For anyone who has ever wanted a puppy, the DOG DIARIES series tells a dog's story in a new way--from a dog's point of view! Focusing on a different breed for each book, starting with a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd, these stories are based on true dog stories or on true-to-life situations. With realistic black-and-white illustrations by renowned illustrator Tim Jessel and an factual appendix, dog-loving early chapter book readers will beg for more!

Born in a puppy mill, Ginger the golden retriever looks back on her life and the various people who have "owned" her. Abruptly separated from her mother, littermates, and the wire cage that was her whole world, Ginger is shuttled from one harrowing situation to another until she finally escapes, living as an outlaw with a pack of wild dogs. But freedom doesn't feel so good once she becomes hungry and cold and sick. Will Ginger ever find a furever family to call her own?

Appendix features information about puppy mills, breed rescue groups, animal shelters, choosing a pet, and the history of golden retrievers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

Ginger the golden retriever narrates the story of her life, from her birth in a puppy mill through the various people who have "owned" her.

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