Down Girl and Sit: Smarter than Squirrels
by Lucy Nolan
New York : Marshall Cavendish, c2004.
ages 6 - 8
Dog Diaries: Secret Writies of the WOOF society
by Betsy Cromer Byars
New York : H. Holt, 2007.
ages 8 - 10
Down Girl and Sit is a fun series for early chapter book readers, in 2nd and 3rd grade. This is the first in the series, and it will be published in paperback this March.
Down Girl and Sit are two lovable dogs who may be smarter than squirrels, but the reader catches all the silly jokes. Down Girl's name is actually Happy, but her owner says "Down, girl" so much that the dog's sure it's her name. The story is all told from the dog's perspective, and this creates a lot of the jokes. I think this will be popular with the animal-loving 2nd grade set.
Here's a bit from the book: "It started like any other day. My master, Rruff, was sound asleep. I stuck my nose into my water bowl. Then I touched Rruff to wake him up. I like to be the first thing he sees in the morning. 'Down, girl!' Rruff shouted. ... Rruff is lucky I woke him up when I did. In another hour the alarm clock would have gone off and scared him."
Dog Diaries is also told from the dog's point of view, but it shares dogs' stories throughout history. The WOOF Society - Words of Our Friends - promotes appreciation throughout the world for dogs' storytelling gifts. The dogs take turns telling their stories from around the world, throughout history. One dog tells the story of being in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted; other dogs tell about being in the Gold Rush and in the U.S. Civil War. Some stories are silly, while others are touching. I would say that this is for slightly older readers, probably in 3rd or 4th grade, partly because it uses more complicated vocabulary. It is a fun read, perfect for dog lovers.