Monday, March 19, 2012

WHAT THE DOG SAID for MMGM

What the Dog Said, by Randi Reisfeld, with H.B. Gilmour (9781599907024, Bloomsbury, February 28, 2012, for ages 10 to 14)



Source: advanced reading copy from publisher


Synopsis (from Indiebound): Ever since her police officer father was killed a few months ago, Grace Abernathy hasn't wanted to do much of anything. She's pulled away from her friends, her grades are plummeting . . . it's a problem. The last thing Grace wants is to be dragged into her older sister Regan's plan to train a shelter dog as a service dog. But Grace has no idea how involved she'll get - especially when a mangy mutt named Rex starts talking to her. Has Grace gone off the deep end? Or might this dog be something really special - an angel? A spirit? Either way, he is exactly the therapy that Grace needs.

Why I liked it:  The dog talks!  And makes jokes! How adorable is that?  It reminds me of one of my favorite childhood movies, The Shaggy Dog (no, not that newer Tim Allen version, sheesh, no!  I'm talking about that old Fred MacMurray Disney movie, the one with Annette Funicello and Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine and Moochie.  Yes, I'm old.  It's a hopeless case.)

But this book is smartly updated with the current trend of rescuing dogs.  The service dog training scenes are believable.  Grace's grief for her dad is realistic. I actually expected this book to be kind of silly, considering the talking dog, but in the end I found it sweet and touching.

Sadly, H.B. Gilmour, Randi Reisfield's co-author on the T*Witches and Clueless books, passed away from lung cancer before this book could be completed. Together, they had come up with an idea for a dog detective who speaks.  After H.B.'s death, Randi shelved the book for a while until she had a brainstorm: to rewrite it as a tribute to H.B, ditch the doggie detective idea and give Rex a higher purpose.

What do you think, readers?  Can a dog be an angel?  Or a spirit to help people who are grieving? 

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. Other regulars include (but are not limited to):

Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Barbara Watson at her blog
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael Gettel-Gilmartin at Middle Grade Mafioso
Pam Torres at So I'm Fifty
Ms. Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads
Danika Dinsmore at The Accidental Novelist
Jennifer Rumberger at her blog
Akossiwa at Nye Louwon--My Spirit
Gabrielle Prendergast at angelhorn
Sheri Larsen at her blog
Gina Carey at her blog

28 comments:

  1. Fred MacMurray. *Swoon* I have this book on reserve from the library even though it involves a talking animal. My dog "talks" to the children. I'm curious to see this one.

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    1. I love that your dog "talks" to the children. And that you remember Fred MacMurray!

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  2. I remember and liked the old version of The Shaggy Dog. This sounds like a good book.

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  3. I will be reading this! Thanks, Joanne. And YES a dog can do what you asked.

    LOL on the Shaggy Dog original. Yeah...me too.

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    1. Heh heh about the Shaggy Dog. Guess we all know which of us are a certain generation...

      Glad you want to read this! And of course dogs can be angels.

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  4. Hadn't heard of this. I'll have to check this out!

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  5. Oh, I haven't seen this one! I love that cover. It sounds like the perfect story for my daughter. thanks for the review, Joanne! :)

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    1. Thanks, Shannon. I like the cover too!

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  6. I'm swept up in this book just by your question at the end of the post because I'm a firm believer that dogs are other-worldly friends in whatever respect our own spirit needs them to be.

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    1. That's great, Barbara! Thanks.

      And I'd bet a lot of people think of dogs that way.

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  7. Sweet. I'll read the book, and I definitely must have a dog just like the one on the cover.

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    1. Hi and welcome to My Brain on Books! Yeah, he's a cute one, isn't he?

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  8. The cover is adorable! I definitely think animals can help us through grief or other emotions. I had a very empathetic cat when I was growing up.

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    1. Hi Gabrielle! Oh, how wonderful that you had a cat like that.

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  9. beautiful concept, and sounds like a terrific book. thank for sharing :)

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  10. What a cute book! I love talking animals. The dog on the cover is adorable and it sounds like an uplifting story. Thanks for visiting my blog! I just realized I put up the wrong synopsis for my MMGM. I don't know where I got the one I put up. I'm totally embarrassed! That's a first in two years of blogging. lol

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    1. Ah, we all make mistakes, Julie! Don't worry about it. A few months ago, I hit "publish" instead of "preview." And I know it goes out on Google Reader and straight to facebook too, so there was nothing I could do about it. Even though I quickly finished writing it and re-published it, the damage had been done.

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  11. An animal as an angel or a spiritual helper? You betcha! I love that kind of story - it was my favorite as a kid. Didn't matter if it was a dog or a dolphin. Thanks for the review :)

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    1. I like your enthusiasm for animal angels, Shiela!

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  12. I know dogs can pick up on human emotions and such, so it's possible they could be angels and help people deal with grief.
    Now look at that face on the cover!!! So sweet and kind of sad.

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    1. He is pretty sweet, Akoss, and yes, a little bit sad too.

      When I was hospitalized in 2005 for the brain aneurysm rupture, they brought around a therapy dog, so I know for sure animals can help people heal! Stands to reason they could help with grief too.

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  13. This sounds like a wonderful book. And I LOVE the old Disney movies too! :)

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    1. Ahaha, Jennifer. I'm willing to bet you're too young to have watched those movies when they were new, but it's cool that you still got to see them!

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  14. I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks for the review! Sounds fun - especially for dog lovers!

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    1. Hi Andrea! I never really considered myself an ardent dog lover, but I enjoyed this book immensely.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation!