So, I feel that I should start this post with a confession:
I am not a dog person.
I’m cringing as I type my truth in black-and-white. I have never owned a dog. When I was 13, I was bitten by a big dog when I tried to pet it and then had to go through rabies shots as a result. Since then, I’ve been afraid of large dogs of all types (with the exception of slobbery, friendly golden retrievers that are just too cute). While I’ve mostly outgrown my fear of dogs, I am hesitant around ones that I don’t know and when my children ask if we can get a dog, my constant answer is, “Maybe when you’re older.”
So, with that out of the way, I just have to share the book I finished last night. It is a classic child-and-dog relationship book, reminding me of other poignant dog-centered stories I’ve read and loved, such as Because of Winn-Dixie, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Love That Dog. This book is special, because the main character is special.
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin is a touching book about a girl named Rose who loves homonyms, rules, and prime numbers. As a high-functioning autistic child, which Rose tells us is her “official diagnosis,” our narrator has many behaviors that seem different and strange to her peers and even to her father. But her dog, Rain (whose name is a homonym: rain, rein, reign) calms her down, cheers her up when she is sad, and serves as her companion and friend when she is lonely.
Rose is a character you will connect with despite her differences in this touching, sometimes sad, story about the relationship between a girl and her dog. Ann M. Martin, author of the popular Babysitters Club series has written a beautiful, emotional, heart-warming (and sometimes heart-wrenching) book about this special relationship. It is a perfect middle grade (4-6) read and could be a good read aloud or book to share with your third grader.
I picked Rain Reign up from my TBR pile yesterday evening and finished it in a few hours– I couldn’t put it down! That’s how good it was.
This week, coincidentally, I also read a few other dog-themed books for younger children. My youngest and I shared Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion one night at bedtime. I picked it up at the bookstore because I remember it fondly from growing up. Rereading it again after a very, very long time, I was not at all disappointed. It is the same delightful story I remember of a dog who doesn’t like to take baths, but gets so dirty that his owners don’t recognize him! Your child will love figuring out how Harry will clean up his act in this oldie-but-goodie.
Finally, my older son is a beginning reader, still learning to decode and read more fluidly. We took a BOB book break this week to try out the Tiny series by Cari Meister, published by Penguin Young Readers. Reminiscent of Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Tiny is a dog who really isn’t, and causes a lot of mischief. The detailed pictures give the reader clues to help figure out the text, which is sparse and just right for an emergent reader. We enjoyed reading Tiny Goes Camping this week and look forward to reading more books in this series.
That’s what I’m reading this week… how ’bout you?