Monday, January 25, 2016

TTT: Going to the Dogs

The Broke and The Bookish are (is?) giving us a freebie this week.  After an exchange with a commenter about great dog books, I decided to make that the focus of this post.

I'm keeping my interpretation wide open.  The one thing you won't find here are sentimental tear-jerkers, a la Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Goes.  I probably shouldn't write them off, since I've always refused to read them, but still.  And I'm not saying no dogs die in any of the books that made my list, it's just handled less heavy handedly.

1.  No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman.  "Go to the library and pick out a book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down.” Kormon spoofs the kind of book I just mentioned in his story of a boy who gets in trouble for despising his teacher's favorite story.

2.  Sight Hound by Pam Houston.  Told from multiple points of view, including two dogs' and a cat's, this book traces the relationship between a Irish Wolfhound and the playwright he shares a home with.  I found it very touching.

3.  The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness.  Not a dog book per se, but the character of Manchee plays an important role.  Because males in this world can hear the thoughts of all people and creatures, we know all of Manchee's delightfully doggy thoughts.  He starts as a bit of comic relief, and develops into the heart of the saga.

4.  Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight.  I loved this book as a kid.  It's your basic boy love dog, boy loses dog, dog returns to boy story.  With highland accents.  And it has zero to do with the TV show.

5. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver.  Poems about dogs by one of the most accessible (yet respected) poets around.  Yay!

6. Dog On It  by Spencer Quinn  My oldest sister brought this series to my parents' house when they were getting on in years.  We all wound up reading it during various visits.  It's a fun little detective series, told from the POV of the detective's dog.  It sounds cheesy, but Quinn uses humor and what I can only call dog awareness to make it work.  He's started a MG version of the same idea, but I haven't read those yet.

7. Notes from a Liar and Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko  The dog does okay in this book, but the kid goes through a bit more than I'd expected from the brightly colored cover.

8. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech  A modern classic, this novel in verse is narrated by Jack, a young man with a super English teacher.

9. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  Wait, I just said "modern classic," right?  So I probably shouldn't say it again.  A mystery with a protagonist who is autistic, this book brought the diversity long before #WNDB.  It's not just great because of that though--the story itself is fascinating.

10.  Call of the Wild by Jack London.  I remember reading this back in 4th grade.  We put on a puppet play of it, and gave the best artist in the group the job of drawing Buck.  His transition from pampered house pet, to sled dog, to basically a wolf always fascinates.

My husband got me this terrific t-shirt for Christmas:

Honorable mention to all the lovely dogs of picture books-- Angus, the scottie; Harry the Dirty Dog; Good Dog Carl, and Mr. Potter and Tabby's friend and neighbor, Zeke.  

How do you feel about dog books?  I know there are a few out right now I haven't gotten to.  Are there any you'd recommend?


  1. YES to Mark Haddon's book! I love the Curious Incident! I thought it handled autism quite nicely and I am often picky about that type of books. LOVED IT.
    I need to pick up the Patrick Ness series soon :) Great list!

    Joan @ fiddler blue

  2. I love your choice of topics! And you picked some great books. I'm sure they all are--but I haven't read them all yet. :-) The Chaos Walking--I have so much love for these books. I also have read Mark Haddon's book and Dog On It. Dog Song is one I would really like to read at some point.

    I don't do well with dog deaths--or animal deaths, for that matter. There are certain books I refuse to read because I know they will wring me out emotionally.

    1. I was surprised, being equally a cat person and a dog person, with a slight leaning towards cats, that I couldn't think of many really good cat books. Maybe dogs are easier to personify? But yes, animal deaths are wrenching.

  3. I love dogs (I have three myself), but I haven't read that many dog books. The only one I come to think about is Marley & Me, which broke my heart a little bit. Very interesting topic this week. Thanks for sharing, and for stopping by my TTT earlier. :)

    1. That's the great fun of these freebie weeks--I love seeing the variety of topics people come up with.

  4. I loved dog books as a kid but I never did read Lassie though I watched various film/TV show versions. I also loved the Benji movies. Not sure if those were based on books.

    My sister and I liked A Home for Jessie and Shiloh. We had serious dog fever and read a lot of books about dogs and the World Book encyclopedia article on dogs, tracing the pictures and memorizing the breeds.

    These are all great suggestions for dog lovers. I may have to check out the Spencer Quinn series. A recent book for adults featuring a dog that I liked is Stay by Allie Larkin. It's chick lit but the dog is a pretty important "character".

  5. Gary Paulsen's book Winterdance, about his experience running the iditerod, doesn't have dogs as "characters" but they do play the leading role in this adventure. I loved it.

  6. Peg, I love that book! I kept ignoring Daddy's recommendation, but when I finally gave in, I realized why he kept pushing it at me. Did you see my post about three Garys, including Paulsen?

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