Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Puppies For Keeps

Puppies For Keeps

Dorothy P. Lathrop, author and illustrator

1943, The Macmillan Company

A rather thin story of two children who watch a litter of Pekingese puppies grow up. The writing is uninvolving, but the illustrations are lovely.

About the Author


Dorothy Pullis Lathrop

The winner of the first Caldecott Medal, for her book Animals Of The Bible in 1938, Lathrop was most famous for her illustrations in Rachel Field's 1930 Newberry Medal book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. Much more information can be found at the following websites.




A Journey Round My Skull Blog

Books written and illustrated by author (partial list)


Dog In The Tapestry Garden

Puffy And Seven Leaf Clover

The Fairy Circus

The Colt from Moon Mountain

Angel in the Woods

Bouncing Betty

Let Them Live

Littlest Mouse

Skittle-Skattle Monkey

Follow The Brook

Who Goes There

Hide And Go Seek

Books illustrated by author (partial list)

Tales From the Enchanted Isles by Ethel May Gate

The Three Mulla-Mulgars by Walter de la Mare

Down-A-Down Derry by Walter de la Mare

Crossings by Walter de la Mare

Dutch Cheese by Walter de la Mare

Mr. Bumps And His Monkey by Walter de la Mare

Bells And Grass by Walter de la Mare


The Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Source: American Library Association

Newberry Medal

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Source: American Library Association

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dixie Of Dover: A Boy And Dog Story (1958)

Dixie Of Dover: A Boy And Dog Story

Jean Poindexter Colby, il. Mary Stevens

1958, Little, Brown and Company

Fists began to fly when suddenly a small furry object hurtled into the fray. It was Dixie, growling and snarling, bristling and biting.

Ten-year-old Gersholm Converse Montgomery III (aka Gerry) gets the little Welsh Terrier pup Dixie as a gift from Lt. John Reed, who is forever grateful to Gerry's dad, Captain Converse Montgomery, for saving his life in WWII. The captain is dying of a blood infection picked up in the Pacific, and when he dies, the scrappy little dog helps everyone adjust to a new life in the city. He accompanies Gerry on a paper route to help with the family finances, and pitches in when Gerry tangles with tough new neighbor Bill O'Brien.

Almost English, with the genteel family moving from a rural estate in Dover and private schools to an old-fashioned house owned by their grandmother in a dodgy neighborhood in Brookline and public schools. And the following scene of an obnoxious child is almost too Brit to bear:

...a boy who pranced up to Gerry and said, "I'm going to have your room and I'm going to mark up that fancy wallpaper, and bust up your birdfeeder, and grind a hole in that workbench."

But there's an air of realism in the book - the family is never said to be poor, simply not as well off as previously. In short, they had to let the maid go and sell the 15-acre gentleman's farm, but they still have a big city house (albeit in a less nice area) and a maid.

Who is Irish. And big and bossy. It was inevitable she'd be either Irish or Negro (to use the term which would have been used here, likely). The mild-mannered WASPy family fits in fairly well with their new neighbors, whose multiculti 1950's style features the friendly Italian family the Delasapios, and the surly, touchy Irish kid Bill. And there's some other fun fifties stuff.

"What's a pizza?" asked Gerry.

Although Bill probably saves Gerry's life by advising him to NOT wear capri pants to public school (ok, I know they weren't capris, but - they looked it.) but remains wary of Dixie and unfriendly except to Mrs. Montgomery, who keeps encountering him in her new job at the local library. There's an odd sort of twist at the end, but until that point it's quite satisfying.


Dixie - male Welsh Terrier

Duzzy - male spaniel mix puppy

Other books




Peter Paints The USA

Jim The Cat

The Elegant Eleanor


Plimoth Plantation Then And Now

Tearing Down To Build Up

Writing, Illustrating And Editing Children's Books

Mystic Seaport: The Age Of Sail

The New Wellesley

The Children's Book Field

Lexington And Concord, 1775

Jesus And The World

About the Author

Jean Poindexter founded Junior Reviewers, a monthly magazine which reviewed new children's books, and was an editor at Ariel Books.


The U. of Southern Mississippi, du Grummond collection

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Animals Can Be Almost Human (short stories)

Animals Can Be Almost Human
Reader's Digest, ed. Alma E. Guinness

A friend wrote me later, "They ask so little and they give so much."

In this large, colorful collection of animal stories from Reader's Digest, including several taken from longer works, dogs rule. There are stories of horses, cats, and other animals, but the dog stories are by far the most numerous. Which is as it should be.

A Dog Named Cider
Corey Ford
Ford recalls his life with an elegant English Setter named Cider, who never unbends sufficiently to stoop to actually licking his hand and who as a solemn puppy chooses Ford as a master by extending a paw through the mesh of his kennel in greeting.

Jack O'Brien, il. Harry Schaare
Spike, an Alaskan husky, proves crucial to the success of Admiral Byrd's First Antarctic Expedition in 1928.

The Dog Who Came In From The Cold
William Iversen, il. Ben Prins
A stray dog ingratiates himself into a family - and then, is reclaimed by his original owners.

Poor, Sick Irving
Herbert Tanzer, Nick Lyons, il. Joe Krush
A vet diagnoses a depressed Yorkie as physically health - and mentally devious. From the book Your Pet Isn't Sick (He Just Wants You To Think So).

Our Canine Kleptomaniac
Estelle Mendelsohn, il. il. Joe Krush
A Dalmation named Plato never showed an interest in learning until he discovered retrieving.

Skeezer, The Dog Who Healed

Elizabeth Yates
A stray mutt from an animal shelter is recruited to help children at Michigan's Children's Psychiatric Hospital. From the book Skeezer: Dog With A Mission.

The Mayor Of Bridgehampton
Willie Morris, il. Patricia Lincoln
An aloof, water-hating black Labrador who acts as the general 'dog about town' for a Long Island village moves in on an aging writer who's vowed he's not going to own any more dogs.

Mrs. Donovan's Dog
James Herriot, il. James Williamson
An elderly woman in mourning for her dog becomes interested in helping a mange-ridden Golden Retriever. From the book All Things Bright And Beautiful.

Only A Lost Dog
Jerome Brondfield
A journalist in London frets over his dog back home, who's gone missing, until a telegram puts his mind at ease - while upsetting Scotland Yard.

Look Homeward, Jeannie
James Thurber, il. Alan Reingold
A black Scottish Terrier named Jeannie reveals that along with stubbornnes and a certain blindness to the obvious, she also lacks basic canine loyalty, prefering to shop around for new owners.

Eat, Drink, And Be Merry
James Herriot, il. Marion Krupp
An indulgent owner's inability to deny Pekingnese Tricki Woo any food has turned the cheerful dog fat and sickly. His vet finally resorts to taking Tricki home, where a normal diet and plenty of exercise slim the little dog down - while care packages from his anxious owner keep the vet and his friends rolling in food and liquor. From the book All Creatures Great And Small.

Blackie, The Shark Dog
Lester C. Gunther, Jr., il. Alan Reingold
A pair of biologists trying to catch sharks for an aquarium get unexpected help from a mutt. On the mid-Pacific atoll of Canton Island, a local race of feral dogs has specialized in hunting in the ocean, herding fish and sharks to shore.

The Last Will And Testament Of An Extremely Distinguished Dog
Eugene O'Neill, il. Lorelle Raboni
A dog's-eye view of life, from the paw of a Dalmation named Blemie.

The Incredible Journey
Sheila Burnford, il. Taylor Oughton
Two dogs and a cat search for their missing family. Based on the novel.