Max meets A Dog Called Homeless in this sweet and poignant middle grade novel told from the humorous, thoughtful perspective of a rescued pit bull as she trains to be a service dog for an injured veteran and his family.
Daisy has only ten weeks to prove her usefulness or else be sent back to the pound. Yet if she goes back, who will protect Colonel Victor from his PTSD attacks? Or save the littler human, Micah, from those infernal ear muzzles he calls earphones? What if no one ever adopts her again?
Determined to become the elite protector the colonel needs, Daisy vows to ace the service dog test. She’ll accept the ridiculous leash and learn to sit, heel, shake, evendo your business, Daisy when told to. But Daisy must first learn how to face her own fears from the past or risk losing the family she’s so desperate to guard—again.
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A HUGE thank you to the members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, who awarded A DOG LIKE DAISY the 2018 Crystal Kite Award for the Kansas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Tennessee/Kentucky/Missouri region.
From School Library Journal:
TUBB, Kristin O’Donnell. A Dog Like Daisy. 192p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062463241.
Gr 4-7–Narrated by Daisy, a dog with a flower-shaped imprint around her eye, this heartwarming novel is about the rigorous training necessary to become an effective service dog. While Daisy is sensitive, loyal, and insightful, she discovers that these are not qualities that Colonel Victor needs for handling his post-traumatic stress disorder. She is selected to become a useful “tool” rather than a simple pet. When Daisy ultimately fails all of her service training tests, it seems that she is destined to return to the pound. However, she comes to realize that she has the potential to fulfill another equally indispensable job for a new family as a beloved companion. Tubb’s frequent use of metaphors and similes throughout enables readers to comprehend a dog’s point of view. Phrases such as “petting is a joy like sunshine” and “false enthusiasm tastes like salt water” and comparisons (e.g., “leashes” being described as an “indignity”) are clever additions to the text and make this title accessible and appealing. Even “danger” has a specific “taste.” Other animals in Daisy’s world make strong impressions. Smaug, an elderly bearded dragon companion of the colonel’s son, emerges with surprising understanding and awareness. Avid canine lovers will surely appreciate the intimate look at Daisy’s yearning for purpose. The focus on the less common topic of service dogs should enlighten readers about the ways our four-legged companions function as more than just pets. VERDICT A poignant animal tale, and a strong addition to most collections.–Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY
A DOG LIKE DAISY
Author: Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
Remember Black Beauty? Who really knows how a horse (or, in this case, a dog) thinks? Tubb has taken a stab at it, and for dog lovers, Daisy's first-dog voice will be completely believable. Confined in an animal shelter, she's chosen by the Colonel, a brave war veteran suffering from severe PTSD, his young teen son, Micah, and Alex, a dog trainer, to be trained to be the Colonel's service animal. Daisy is eager to please and willing to give her all to help this suffering Mexican-American family. Sadly, she seems to have PTSD herself after a brutal first home where she was forced to fight other dogs and the loss of her litter of puppies to a garbage truck (a terrifying scene revealed in flashback). Daisy's wry comments on human foibles and eccentricities, along with her sensitive, growing understanding of the broken dynamic of the Colonel's family (she observes that Micah constantly wears headphones that no one realizes are shut off, for example), combine to paint a moving picture of suffering and, ultimately, redemption. At times issues are oversimplified; the Colonel's rejection of Daisy after she twice fails her certification test followed by his abrupt change of heart in deciding to keep her on as a family pet feels facile. Daisy is distinctive and memorable, and this depiction of PTSD is useful, making this a fine, compelling tale. (Fiction. 10-14)