Year of the Dog Recommended Reads

Happy (Chinese) New Year! And welcome to the Year of the Dog! 

The Dog is the 11th year in the Chinese zodiac's 12-year cycle. Were you born in a Dog year? Recent Dog years include 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and, of course, 2018. Like their animal counterparts, those born in a Dog year are supposed to be loyal and honest friends that everyone can count on. That is certainly true of my two dogs, Bear and Dylan! They each have their own personalities—Bear is snuggly, while Dylan is a big goof—but they are loyal and true friends to my family.

Best of all, they LOVE books! Seriously, Bear puts in an appearance when our family reads at bedtime nearly every night, and Dylan, well, he shows his interest in books in other ways. That dog has some "strong" opinions about books. He can really tear through them!

While I would recommend that you check out Grace Lin's The Year of the Dog, they have other priorities. If they could talk to you about books, here's what they'd say:

Bear recommends you try Writing With Rosie, a how to write fiction book by award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff. Giff says that she's tried to think of exactly how she writes and explain it in simple words with examples to follow, all while trying NOT to get distracted by her puppy, Rosie. Bear says: It makes my list because just like Rosie, I love bacon and chasing squirrels. Plus, if more of you learn to write stories, there will be more for me to hear.

He also is a fan of Sniffer Dogs. Bear loves this book because it's bursting with cool facts about a dog's sense of smell. For example, did you know that dogs can tell the difference between smells that are a few days old or freshly marked? And since they can catch scents in the air, it's almost like dogs can smell the past, present and future! Bear says: Saving the world one human at a time is what dogs are all about. I am so jealous of Tucker, the conservation dog. How come I never get to smell whale poop?

Finally, Bear recommends Rain Reign. Rose, a high-functioning autistic fifth-grader, has her world turned upside down when her faithful dog, Rain, goes missing during a heavy storm. Determined to find her, Rose makes a plan that means she'll have another kind of storm to weather. Bear says, First of all, I just want to say for the record—those weren't tears in my eyes. I have allergies! But this book really shows you how the love humans have for their dogs is only matched by the love dogs have for their humans. Sniff. Sniff. Now I've gone and set off my allergies again.

Judging from the scraps on my living room rug, Dylan has been nosing his way through the sequel to Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in TimeA Wind in the Door, which follows Meg Wallace and Calvin O'Keefe as they travel into the very cells of Meg's youngest brother to save him from a serious illness. Dylan says: Yeah, it's a tasty read.

He also recommends that you take a look at The Young Chef, a guide to cooking techniques for young people who like to cook. While those looking for the basics might like Kids Can Cook or You Can Cook, this book explains all the terms and techniques a young chef needs to take snack time to the next level. Dylan says: They don't use enough peanut butter in this book, but it's still pretty good. If you ever need a taste tester, I am here for you.

Lastly, Dylan is totally into Hamstersaurus Rex Vs. Squirrel Kong, the follow up to Hamster-saurus Rex. Middle school misfit Sam Gibbs is still trying to keep Hammie out of harm's way. This time, instead of being on the menu for Beefy's pet snake, Hammie is in danger of being sent to a home for troubled pets when the science lab is mysteriously wrecked and he gets the blame. Dylan says: You got to keep an eye on those squirrels. They are ALWAYS up to something!

Do you have a dog? What books would they recommend?

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