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Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn't an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn't want to leave me.
Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He's a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running -- well enough to join the school track team. Strider changes Leigh on the inside, too, as he finally begins to accept his parents' divorce and gets to know a redheaded girl he's been admiring. With Strider's help, Leigh finds that the future he once hated to be asked about now holds something he never expected: hope.
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Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.
Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!
Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7-- Leigh Botts, the protagonist of the Newbery winner Dear Mr. Henshaw (Morrow, 1983), is once again recording his thoughts on paper. While cleaning his room, he discovers his old diary and is inspired to start writing again. Now 14, he is still dealing with some of the same issues from earlier days--his parents' divorce, concerns about his father's sincerity and financial stability, and insecurities about his own identity and popularity. He also has a few new worries--namely Geneva, a girl, and Strider, a dog. Leigh and his friend Barry find the abandoned pooch on the beach and decide to try "joint custody." It is not the perfect arrangement. Because Leigh's attachment to Strider fills the emotional voids in his life, he becomes reluctant to share him. Eventually, the two boys work through the tensions that threaten their friendship. At the same time, Leigh and his father develop a new understanding. Although the story is centered aroung Leigh's relationship with Strider, this is more than just "a boy and his dog" book. Cleary's talent for portraying the details of everyday life--both small and significant--is evident here. Her characters are unique individuals and "every children" at the same time. Strider lacks the subtle poignancy found in Dear Mr. Henshaw , and some readers may find Leigh's interest and responses more appropriate for an 11 or 12 year old than a 14 year old, but Cleary's fans will relate to his challenges and triumphs--whether or not they've read the first title.
- Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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