A Dog’s Best Friend. L.

INFO: Thompson, Gary. A Dog’s Best Friend. L. 1998.

DESC: A somewhat disturbing choice for a level L, A Dog’s Best Friend chronicles the life of “Niles,” a very spoiled and downright mean Schnauzer, as a new dog (a much less fancy basset hound, at that) moves into his owner’s ritzy condominum. The vindictive elements of Niles’ personality are a bit much; but some kids might get a kick out of discussing Niles’ personality, and the nasty trick he plays on newcomer (the unfortunately-named Crumbley). Eventually, the book turns around: Niles and Crumbley start to become friends, and Niles accepts that Crumbley, even though he’s not as polished or fancy as Niles himself, might not be so dumb after all.

TAGS: acceptance, understanding, new friends, changes, being nice, kindness, dogs, dog stories, fiction, L

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The Best School Year Ever. P.

INFO: Robinson, Barbara. The Best (Worst) School Year Ever. P. 1994.

DESC: One of the popular mid-range (N, O, P) “3rd grade drama” stories that chronicles (think “Wayside School”) the seemingly never-ending shenanigans of life in 3rd grade. In this tale, Woodrow Wilson Elementary School learns to live with the Herdmans – a notorious ‘outlaw’ family that do everything from stealing (and tatooing) neighborhood babies to staging a fiasco involving the whole school staff and the District Supervisor. What will our narrator do, stuck in a class with Imogene Herdman – especially since the yearlong class project is to stand up and compliment everyone in class about their good points?

TAGS: humor, school, acceptance, “weird kids,” compassion, trouble, shenanigans, 3rd grade drama, family, school