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Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven by Graham…

Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven

by Graham Salisbury

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Salisbury, Graham. Dog Heaven. Series Calvin Coconut. Illus. by Jacqueline Rogers. Random House Children’s Books. Copyright 2010. ISBN 978-385-90641-8.

Recently I read Dog Heaven, part of the Calvin Coconut Series written by Salisbury, with my seven year old son. “Come on mom, it’s time for Calvin Coconut” he’d remind me every evening when we took turns reading aloud. My son’s enthusiasm for the plot and his interest in a fourth grade boy living in Hawaii made this an enjoyable experience.

The story begins when Calvin’s teacher posts the writing assignment “What I want so badly I can taste it” which forces Calvin to examine his heart’s most pressing desire. Calvin comes to the realization that what he wants more than anything comes with some major obstacles. Calvin wants a dog. Unfortunately his mom is against the idea. Understandable considering she is the single mother of two children and the provider for an emotional teenager named Stella. Stella’s parents skipped town and the girl is not only resentful towards Calvin, but worse, she’s allergic to animals!

Despite the fact Calvin’s dream seems hopeless, dream he does, until the day his dream is given a face and a name. Luckily Ledward, Calvin’s mother’s boyfriend, believes “every boy should have a dog.” When Ledward takes Calvin to visit “Dog Heaven,” Calvin is immediately drawn to Streak, a black eyed herding dog who was abandoned in the mountains. Although Calvin can’t take her home from the shelter without his mother’s permission, he is inspired to rewrite his essay until it’s so persuasive he just knows his mom will agree to let him have Streak.

Calvin’s desire for a four legged companion conjured up memories of me and the numerous times I brought home flea infested stray cats as a girl. The characterization will intrigue readers who have limited knowledge of Hawaiian culture and the theme pulls at the heartstrings of children and adults alike. With serious subplots dealing with divorce and abandonment, Dog Heaven teaches that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, even for people living in majestic Hawaii. Recommended for grades 2-5. ( )
  johansonc | Dec 15, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737033, Hardcover)

What do you want so badly that you can taste it—and can you persuade someone to give it to you? That’s the subject of a writing assignment Calvin’s fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Purdy, gives the class. Calvin wants a dog! He reads what he’s written to his mom to see just how persuasive he can be. No way, Mom says: Stella, their babysitter, might be allergic, and Calvin is too irresponsible to care for a pet.

Luckily, Mom’s boyfriend, Ledward, is on Calvin’s side. He takes Calvin to a place he calls dog heaven. There Calvin meets the dog of his dreams—Streak. Now Calvin’s got to convince Mom he’s dog-responsible, because he and Streak belong together!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When his teacher asks him to write a persuasive argument about something he really wants, fourth-grader Calvin creates a unique way to express his desire for a dog.

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