“A Dog’s Day” is a new series by Catherine Stier for early chapter book readers about working dogs and their various different jobs. In “A Dog’s Day: I Am Sammy, Trusted Guide,” readers learn about guide dogs and what they do. Sammy, the working dog, tells his story in first person narration and we learn about his training and how important it is that guide dogs be able to practice something called “intelligent disobedience.” That’s an important concept for children to learn, and they also learn that it’s important not to bother working dogs or ask to pet them because they shouldn’t be distracted. The story is told in an engaging manner and Sammy’s adventures are exciting enough to keep the readers interested. The illustrations by Francesca Rosa add visual interest for young readers making the jump from picture books and early readers to short chapter books.
Children will also learn a lot about a different kind of working dog in “A Dog’s Day: I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch.” In this book we learn about a livestock guardian dog who protects farm animals like sheep. These dogs are usually large dogs, often Great Pyrenees, whose job is to guard the sheep against coyotes, wolves, and even mountain lions. In Jax’s story we see the three guardian dogs first protecting the sheep against coyotes and then against a rare predator, a mountain lion. The story has danger and plenty of tension as Jax and his coworker fight to keep their charges safe.
“A Dog’s Day: I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow” is about an avalanche rescue dog. Again we learn about the training and the tests to pass to be a rescue dog, and Ava shares an “actual” rescue that is emotionally captivating as we realize the importance of her work. Like the other books in this series, readers might be interested enough after reading about avalanche rescue dogs that they will decide to do additional research on their own.
“A Dog’s Day: I Am Bella, Star of the Show” shares the story of a movie star, one who travels on four legs. Bella must obey commands and perform activities that are not a part of normal obedience training. We get to see what a day on the set looks like from the point of view of the doggy star. It’s not all red carpet and makeup, and readers will get a glimpse into the hard work that goes into making a movie — especially with a four-legged actor.
At the end of each book, there is more information about each type of dog. For example, in Jax’s story we can read “About Livestock Guardian Dogs,” then a section called “What It Takes” about the requirements needed to do the job, and “LGDs in this Book” about the livestock guardian dogs mentioned in the book. Kids will like reading this information, and this series would be a great choice for kids who want to learn about working dogs and who would benefit from a fictional story that also includes plenty of nonfiction facts about working dogs.
This series is a great choice for schools and classroom libraries as well as for any children who want to read about dogs. The series will interest children who are too young to read the books on their own — my four-year-old grandson loved reading these via my phone — and will also be enjoyed even by fifth grade readers who want a quick read about different types of working dogs.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by Albert Whitman & Company, the publisher, for review purposes.