Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes by Marlane Kennedy

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Heart warming story kids will love
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Heart warming dog book
And I'm not a dog person
So you know it's good

Melt Your Heart with the Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes

I read Marlane Kennedy's first book when it came out and enjoyed it, so I planned to read The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes.  This book features new characters and a new situation, so if you haven't read that book yet (and why haven't you?) you can read this one immediately.

Charlotte Hayes is not a dog person.  She tolerates them okay, but she doesn't love them the way her father and older sister do.  And yet, she's the one who is taking care of the family dog, a big, friendly Saint Bernard.  Poor Beauregard (or Killer, depending on who you ask) spends all day chained up in the backyard.  Charlotte spends some time with him after school, but she can tell he isn't happy.

So Charlotte decides it is time for her to find a new home for the family pet.  Her initial attempt is met by a family who insists they want the dog even if they won't spend any time with it.  Can Charlotte come up with a plan that will reduce her family's resistance and find Beauregard a loving home?

Now I will admit I am not a dog person, either.  Of course, part of the reason for me is my allergies.  But, like Charlotte, I'm not a fan of being jumped or drooled on.  But that didn't dampen my enjoyment one bit.  I fell in love with Beauregard the first time we saw him.

And that love for Beauregard makes it even easier to root for Charlotte to find him a good home.  She is a very responsible and persistent 12-year-old, and I have to reward her ingenuity even if she does lie a couple of times along the way.  Still, when she does reach a good plan, she goes after it with all her heart.

The entire family is well developed here by several sub-plots that weave their way through the book.  Honestly, I fell in love with the entire family.  Yes, that includes baby brother Justin Lee.  Spending time around them was a pleasure.

The same can be said for Charlotte's friends.  We really only get to know two of them well, but I like them.  Another character comes into play later in the book who is well developed, especially considering how late she shows up.

The book is targeted at last elementary school age, and I'd say it is perfect for them.  The writing is fluid and just challenging enough.

The ending of the story actually brought tears to my eyes.  I couldn't believe I had come to root for a girl and her dog that much.  So whether you like dogs or not, pick up a copy of The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes.

This is my entry in this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Stop by Shannon Messenger's blog to see the other entries.

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