Wiener Wolf

Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby, a nominee for the 13-14 South Carolina Picture Book Award, is a charming book that will resonate with both kids and adults.

Wiener Dog is bored with his hoe-hum life with Granny…until he sees some wolves on the TV. He decides to then become a Wiener Wolf! He ditches his sweater, his toys, and his cushy life with Granny and roams the woods with his wolfie pals, drinking from a stream and playing with wolf pups. It doesn’t take long, though, for Wiener Wolf to decide that maybe his old life wasn’t so bad after all. (Chasing “dinner” through the forest will do that to you!) So, Wiener Wolf once again becomes Wiener Dog, but there may just be a way for this dog to enjoy his life with Granny and still find a place among friends. Learn how he does it when you read Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby!

The illustrations in this book are simply adorable, and I know my students will be captivated by them. The story is short and lends itself well to read-alouds with young students. Wiener Wolf could also lead to discussions on how domesticated animals behave as opposed to their wilder counterparts.

A Dog’s Way Home

Abby’s best friend is her beloved Shetland sheepdog, Tam. The two are always together, and they even compete in agility competitions (which they usually win because they seem to read each others’ minds). On the way home from a competition in Virginia, however, a horrible accident on the treacherous Blue Ridge Parkway separates Abby and Tam. Abby is sure that her precious dog is still alive and trying to find his way back to her…all the way home to Harmony Gap, North Carolina.  Even when Abby and her family move to Nashville (something Abby is not happy about), she never loses hope that she will be reunited with Tam one day.

Tam is lost and alone for the first time in his life.  He has only two goals:  survive and find his way back to his girl.  As Tam makes his way south toward where he’s sure he’ll find Abby, surviving is becoming more difficult.  Winter is on its way, and Tam must rely on all his instincts–and the help of some surprising new friends–to live through the season.  As the days, weeks, and months pass, Tam begins to forget much about his old life as he becomes more like a wild animal and less like the pampered dog he once was.  But, somehow, he always remembers that he belongs somewhere else, and he is doing everything he can to get back to the place–and the girl–that is his true home.

Both Abby and Tam are facing new situations and dangers they never expected, but these two friends have a bond that transcends everything.  It’s this bond that helps both of them hope for the day when they’ll see each other again.  Even though hundreds of miles separate them, Abby and Tam are determined to find each other…and they’ll stop at nothing to make that happen.  Find out how Tam makes his way home to Abby’s welcoming arms when you read A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron.

I’m confident that my students will devour this book.  Books about dogs are not exactly a hard sell in my library anyway, but I think this one stands out from the crowd.  A Dog’s Way Home is told from both Abby’s and Tam’s perspectives, so it shows how strong the relationship between pet and owner can truly be.  Anyone who’s ever had a pet will appreciate this.

There are so many things to love about A Dog’s Way Home–the setting, the relationships, the will to survive, and the love between Abby and Tam.  I sincerely believe that my students will enjoy this book as much as I did.  I highly recommend this book to all readers, especially those in 3rd-6th grades who have a special bond with their own pets.

For more information about this heart-warming book and author Bobbie Pyron, visit

Everything for a Dog

Everything for a Dog is really three tales in one–the stories of Charlie, Bone, and Henry.

Charlie is dealing with the tragic death of his older brother. Charlie’s only real companion is Sunny, the dog who seems to help his family get through this tough time. Sunny is Charlie’s best friend. But just when life is starting to return to normal in Charlie’s house, another tragedy strikes…

Bone is a dog on his own. He’s been separated from his sister, Squirrel, and he must learn to survive without her. He lives with families occasionally–some nice and some not-so-nice–but he spends a lot of his life as a stray, sleeping in the cold and foraging for food…until a boy named Henry comes along…

All Henry wants in the world is a dog, but his parents, especially his father, won’t let him have one. He makes every argument he can think of and even proves that he can be responsible, but they still won’t budge. One day, however, Henry comes across a stray dog. He can tell the dog would be wonderful if only he were given a little love. So Henry does everything he can think of to give this dog, who he’s named Buddy, a good life, even if he has to keep all of this from his parents. Soon though, Henry realizes why his parents won’t let him have a dog, and, though he understands, he is devoted to Buddy. And when something happens to Buddy, Henry may just have to let his parents in on his little secret. They could be Buddy’s last hope.

This book weaves three stories into one seamless tale. The stories interconnect in ways that are at once unexpected and heartwarming. Readers will become involved in the stories of Charlie, Bone (or Buddy), and Henry. They will laugh and cry as these tales unfold, and they will be satisfied with the final resolution. This book is not to be missed!

We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes

If you’ve ever wondered what your pets really think of you, then We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings may be just the book you’re looking for. It’s told from the perspective of a gopher snake captured by a young boy.

The snake–mistaken for a male and named Crusher–is eager to get back to the wild, but she is also curious about the other animals “imprisoned” by the boy. As Crusher plots her escape, she also wonders why the boy does the things that he does, especially why he spends all of his time playing video games and very little actually caring for his pets.

Read We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes to find out if Crusher ever escapes. Will she ever get back to the wild? Can she leave the other pets behind? Has she become tame after all?