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Dog Sense by Sneed B. Collard III
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Guy Martinez is the new kid at Big Sky Middle School, having just moved from his home in California to his grandfather's house in Montana. His first day starts with a bully pushing him up against a wall and threatening him, and the day doesn't show many signs of improvement. He does make a friend (Luke, another bullied kid), and the two of them enjoy playing with Guy's Border collie, Streak. Luke mentions an upcoming frisbee-catching competition at the town fair, and they train Streak in an attempt to beat the bully and his dog. What starts as a competition turns into a wager with everything on the line.

The bully is almost a cartoon: He's not smart, and he's bigger than all the other kids because he's been left back a few times. His clumsy attempts at verbally abusing classmates consist of going straight for "your dad's gone" and the like. There's no subtlety here. The story is more about the frisbee-catching dogs and the wager than the how-to-deal-with-bullies, which is fine but not what I'm looking for.

Confession: yeah, I'm just skimming these, mostly. Open to any recommendations for an 8th-grade summer reading book, when the 7th grade has already called dibs on James Preller's Bystander and there's nothing else even close to as good.

( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
A young boy’s parents separate and his mother decides to move them from California to her hometown in Montana. The town bully pounces on him on his first day of school and doesn’t seem to ever tire of the abuse. With the help of a couple of new friends and the dog that his mother bought for him, Guy decides that living with his mother and grandfather in Montana isn’t so bad after all.Some might consider this a “boy” read, but I believe that it would appeal to girls as well. The text flows well and is easily understood. This book may be of interest to middle school readers as well as to high scchool readers. ( )
  iecj | Jul 9, 2009 |
Thirteen year old Guy Martinez has moved with his mom from California to Montana and isn't very thrilled. His mom bought him a border collie, Streak, in the hopes that he would forgive her for forcing him to leave California. Guy hopes that he will fit in at his new school, but right away he becomes the target of the school bully, Brad Mullen. He also, however, makes a friend, Luke, who is crazy for his dog Streak, and seems to know a lot about animals. When Luke suggests that Streak would be a natural at frisbee catching, Guy has nothing to lose by going along with the idea, and before he knows it, Streak is catching frisbees mid air so they enter a local competition where they end up challenging Brad and his German Shepherd Shep, for the title. This is a fast read, but it's quite enjoyable. Some of the dialogue between Guy and his grandfather is hilarious. The author has really captured the voice of the grandpa. I think kids would really enjoy the story. ( )
  JRlibrary | Jan 30, 2009 |
Book Links, March 2007, page 49:

"When 13-year-old Buy moves from Southern California to Montana, he faces some difficult adjustments: he has no friends except for his dog, Streak, and the school bully dislikes him....Dog lovers will especailly enjoy the sportsmanship of the Frisbee event in this affecting, easy-to-read novel."
  readingtodogs | Sep 4, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 156145351X, Hardcover)

A warm and funny coming-of-age novel featuring an adolescent boy who overcomes troubles at home and at school with the help of his beloved dog and a new friend.
Montana is a long way from California. Thirteen-year-old Guy is trying to make the best of a difficult situation. He and his mother have moved in with his grandfather after his father's "unannounced departure." Back home, Guy skateboarded, surfed, and played video games with his friends. Here the kids only seem to talk about cars, fishing, and hunting.
Life at Big Sky Middle School is also a disappointment. Guy is bored in math class and over his head in English. He quickly becomes a target for Brad Mullen, class bully. But at least Guy has his beloved Border collie, Streak, and eventually he makes a friend, classmate Luke Grant. Soon Guy and Luke hatch a plan to train Streak to compete against Brad Mullen and his dog at the town's Frisbee catching competition. But the rivalry between Guy and Brad escalates until an impulsive wager pits the boys head to head and places Streak in jeopardy.
Veteran author Sneed Collard offers young readers an affecting, realistic portrait of an adolescent boy who must learn to cope with conflicts and challenges in an unfamiliar environment and to accept changes in his life that are beyond his control.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:24 -0400)

After he and his mother move from California to Montana to live with his grandfather, thirteen-year-old Guy gradually adjusts to the unfamiliar surroundings, makes a friend, and learns to deal with a bully, with the help of his Frisbee-catching dog, Streak.… (more)

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