Rating: 5 stars
“Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories” edited by Ann M. Martin is a compilation of stories that are all, obviously, about dogs. The forward, appropriately, is by Martin’s dog, Sadie.
Sadie states, “Between the covers of this book you’ll read about funny dogs, adventurous dogs, brave dogs, smart dogs, and dogs who perform rescues.” What Sadie doesn’t say is that some of the stories will bring a tear to your eye. Some of the stories will make you smile. And all of the stories will be stories you want to share with others.
Classroom teachers, listen up. There’s nothing kids like more than dogs and stories about dogs. The stories are not as short as those in Cynthia Rylant’s fabulous book, “Every Living Thing,” but each of them brings to life kids’ short attention spans, their sense of humor, and their ability to overlook differences when united to help a dog.
“Because of Shoe,” the title story, is actually the second story in the book. It’s a charming story of a young girl in court recounting a long, humorous story about her dog named Shoe. She rambles on, charming the judge and the spectators, in spite of the judge’s tight schedule. The reader doesn’t find out until almost the end why she is in court. It works — really well.
There are many themes that emerge in these stories. Dog fighting, racism, adoption, not fitting in, and feeling alone are all relevant issues that teachers can use to prompt classroom discussions.
Please note: This book is based on the advanced reader’s edition provided by the publisher, Henry Holt, for review purposes.