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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Book Talk => Topic started by: dianebailey on March 28, 2008, 10:39 AM

Title: Does the dog die?
Post by: dianebailey on March 28, 2008, 10:39 AM

Recently I suggested my 10-year-old read "Island of the Blue Dolphins." I have an ancient copy; the picture on the front is of the girl/boy (can't even remember, that's so sad) and his/her dog. Or maybe it's a wolf. Who knows?

The point is, my son looked at it and announced "It has a dog, and it won a Newberry, which means the dog dies. I'm not reading it."

So, anyone who remembers, DOES the dog (wolf, pony, armadillo) die?
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: m.pritchett on March 28, 2008, 10:45 AM
That would be a yes, I'm pretty sure. :)
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on March 28, 2008, 10:48 AM
The point is, my son looked at it and announced "It has a dog, and it won a Newberry, which means the dog dies. I'm not reading it."

 :lmao

My son has declared a moratorium on all books that meet this description.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: JodyJS on March 28, 2008, 11:10 AM
Yep, Rontu dies.  But his son, Rontu-Aru, takes his place I believe.  It's been awhile.  Tell your son it's a great book, even if it is a bit sad.  My 7-year old and I read it and cried together.  Family time.  It doesn't get any better than that.  (He's probably damaged forever.)

How about "The Indian in the Cupboard?"  We read that one recently, and I was surprised how much I liked it.

 :hedgehog

Jody
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: writercat on March 28, 2008, 11:25 AM
LOL, LOVE it that your son is so perceptive so young. And you see he is right. I don't like books like that either, and I especially don't like it that you can figure what happens to the dog based on that criteria. I guess that is something that has been done a lot in MG books since IotBD was printed, and by now you can see them coming.
I know it's a great book, but I like great books where the dog doesn't die (or the cat, or the bunny, etc). ;)
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Brenda on March 28, 2008, 11:34 AM
Yep! My son just finished reading this a few months back.

BeeBee
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: dianebailey on March 28, 2008, 11:39 AM

Well, shoot!

I told my son this was a great book no matter what, but for the moment, he's not going for it. Maybe he just needs to practice with "Shiloh" and "Where the Red Fern Grows" first...

Let this be a lesson to all of us who would kill off our animal friends in our books! (Not that my books HAVE any animals--although I was thinking of introducing a dog... who will now be immortal ... )



Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Brenda on March 28, 2008, 11:43 AM

I told my son this was a great book no matter what, but for the moment, he's not going for it. Maybe he just needs to practice with "Shiloh" and "Where the Red Fern Grows" first...


I read WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS when I was a kid and it upset me for days.  I think the death of Rontu was easier, but of course I read it with my 4th grader.

BeeBee
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: m.pritchett on March 28, 2008, 11:44 AM
'Where the Red Fern Grows' had me crying for days.

And I read it when I was in sixth grade. It was so sad.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Mandy Hubbard on March 28, 2008, 11:46 AM
Yikes! Diane, do you remember that BOTH dogs die in WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS?

Shiloh is a great alternative, though.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: 1846 on March 28, 2008, 11:46 AM
Have him read Dear Mr. Henshaw, a Newbery winner in which the dog does NOT die.  (A great thread topic, Newbery winners in which the dog doesn't die!)
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Laura D on March 28, 2008, 01:36 PM

The point is, my son looked at it and announced "It has a dog, and it won a Newberry, which means the dog dies. I'm not reading it."

So, anyone who remembers, DOES the dog (wolf, pony, armadillo) die?

I'm with your son on this one.  :applause :applause  That's hilarious.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: whbeck on March 28, 2008, 02:06 PM
Treat your son to Gordon Korman's NO MORE DEAD DOGS, about a boy who who gets detention over his reading assignment, "Old Shep, My Pal". It's hilarious.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: JodyJS on March 28, 2008, 02:17 PM
B,

Sounds hilarious.  I'm off to my virtual library now...

Jody
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: dianebailey on March 28, 2008, 02:50 PM
Yikes! Diane, do you remember that BOTH dogs die in WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS?


Oh yes, I remember. That book was one of few that have set me sobbing. I am in the middle of a book right now ("Each Little Bird that Sings") where the dog is in grave peril. I should know in a few more pages whether he makes it.

Thanks for all the other suggestions, everyone. Maybe in that LOC summary in the front of books they should have a category of "Pet Lives (or Dies)" :)
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: richmond8 on March 28, 2008, 03:09 PM
B beat me to recommnding No More Dead Dogs, which is hilarious and perfectly appropriate for a fifth grader, boy or girl.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: almarrone on March 28, 2008, 06:05 PM
I have to jump on the No More Dead Dogs bandwagon--my son and I loved it!  I also loved Island of Blue Dolphins and was devasted when the dog died. I remember trying to convince family memebers to name our new kitten after him when I was in 5th grade--we ended up just calling the cat Kitten--humph.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: ShirleyH on March 28, 2008, 06:29 PM
I have a dog in my wip, and I was seriously tempted to change the first sentence to, "The dog does not die."
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: 1846 on March 28, 2008, 06:46 PM
I have a dog in my wip, and I was seriously tempted to change the first sentence to, "The dog does not die."

That would have been a useful disclaimer in Blood Brothers, too, Shirley.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Pons on March 28, 2008, 07:10 PM
I just finished reading Waiting for Normal and loved it.  The MC has a hamster for a pet and there were several times when I thought the hamster was dead meat, but it survived the whole book. 

When I was in 4th grade, my teacher read Island of the Blue Dolphins to us one chapter a day.  I cannot remember the MC's name, but I remember feeling so bad for her all alone on the island.  When she made friends with the dog, I could breathe again.  Their friendship touched my little 9 year old heart, and when the dog died, I sat at my desk and wept.  I wasn't the only one.  If I remember right, the dog died of old age, which I find more palatable than a beloved pet sacrificing itself for its owner.  (A bit cliche.)  Dying of old age is part of life, and Island of the Blue Dolphins is all about accepting life and doing what you have to do. 

Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Bish on March 29, 2008, 03:20 AM
Call of the Wild and While Fang...two books with lots of adventure and some tragedy. In Call of the Wild, it's Buck's master who dies. In White Fang (if I remember rightly) he finally finds a home.  The dogs don't die. But these book may be difficult for a 4th/5th grader. I don't know. I suppose it depends on the kid. I clearly remember reading a Classics Illustrated of Call of the Wild when I was about 10 or 11. I read the book a year or so later.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: MegM on March 29, 2008, 04:11 AM
That's funny! I can only echo the recommendation for No More Dead Dogs, in which the mc actually says: "Go to the library and pick out a book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down."

Sounds like he and your son might be kindred spirits.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Jan Fields on March 30, 2008, 06:19 PM
When I was a kid, I read a book called Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. It's short stories, each with a different animal and EVERY FREAKING ONE OF THEM DIES. I'm talking a total need-a-therapist-after-this book.
The dog freezes to death (after saving the owner's life).
The bunny drowns in a freezing lake.

And I don't remember the others (I'm repressing) -- but the book made me FURIOUS as a kid. That was back when I'd read toothpaste tubes because I couldn't get enough books, so I couldn't just put the book away and not read the rest...plus, I had a morbid need to find out if everything dies. Yup. All of it.

It should have won a Newbery. :hiding
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on April 01, 2008, 05:56 AM
"A Day No Pigs Would Die" was tramatic here thanks to the "weasling" scene. My son looked at me and said, "I don't think want to read this book anymore."



Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: richmond8 on April 01, 2008, 01:16 PM
A Day No Pigs Would Die is a powerful book.  I can see how a kid might feel it was too hard to weather the emotions, even thought it's funny in parts.  It's also one of the most beautifully written books I ever read.  You could almost say it's a book for adults. I used to get Robert Newton Peck confused with Richard Peck. 
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: 1846 on April 01, 2008, 01:38 PM
I totally agree, and the elegance of the power of the story is that it sneaks up on you unexpectedly.  You don't realize as you begin the book the depth of emotion that it will draw by the end.  This is a death themed story, and from the dog on, each death is more powerful until the ending.  This is one of the great stories, because it comes disguised as something more lighthearted than it really is.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Lunchbox on April 01, 2008, 11:18 PM
I would be less upset with these dead dog stories if it were about some obnoxious yappy fuzzball like the one my neighbors have that wakes us up every morning, but it seems the dead dogs are always noble shepherds or coonhounds or collies or something.  When was the last time a Yorkie pushed a child out of the  path of an oncoming car?  Did a chihuahua ever drag its owner from a burning building?  How many Shi Tzus have gone one on one with a grizzly bear while the family scrambled to the safety of their station wagon?

I loved Johnny Quest when I was a kid, but I always wished just once that the monster would eat Bandit.  :tease

Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: 1846 on April 02, 2008, 03:59 AM
How many Shi Tzus have gone one on one with a grizzly bear while the family scrambled to the safety of their station wagon?

We don't require heriocs of Shi Tzus because their true calling in life is to be a daily soruce of joy to their human companions simply by laying on their feet, looking up at them lovingly with their big, beautiful eyes.  Of course the Shih Tzu would go after the bear if he was big enough, but only to make friends.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: lydap on April 02, 2008, 05:39 AM
My DH is with your son. He pointed out that in the movies the great dogs always die, like in I Am Legend and American Gangster this year. He hates it. Especially because we have a great big fluffy Shiloh Shepherd. And the book about the guy who walked across Afghanistan, can't dredge the name out of my tiny brain this a.m. I wouldn't read that book after Jeff threw the book across the room when the dog died.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Liz Straw on April 24, 2008, 05:35 PM
 :duel  I am in total agreement with your son!  Why does the dog always have to die?  Like watching the kid kill Old Yeller because he has rabies.   :feelbad

I got to the point where I refused to read the majority of animal stories and especially when animals talked.  I did read horse stories, but not when horses talked. 

I remember teaching third grade (way back when) and the book I read to the class was Charlotte's Web.  Even as an adult I had a hard time with the talking pig and rat and spider.  The kids loved it, but I kept wanting to say, ANIMALS DON'T TALK. 

I refused to read a book where an animal died off, most of the kids I taught had enough going on in their lives.

Liz :writing
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: lizzy_lyn on April 24, 2008, 07:22 PM
I avoid any books where the dog dies.   :ban   In fact, I never did read Island of the Blue Dolphins as a kid because I heard it was sad.  I didn't read Bridge to Terabithia as a kid either, for the same reason. 
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Juliarts2003@yahoo.com on April 25, 2008, 04:54 AM
... Did a chihuahua ever drag its owner from a burning building? ...


No, but a chihuahua did sacrifice it's life by taking on a pitbull that was attacking a toddler and more recently one saved a toddler from a rattlesnake. I'm convinced dogs don't recognize their own "size." My Sheltie is every bit as ferocious (maybe more so) than my shepherd/husky mix or my Heinz 57, who both outweigh him by 35+ pounds each. If someone ever threatened me - I'd put my money on little Clint as the one who'd rush to my rescue first.   :dog

No More Dead Dogs is one of my favorite books! I shy away from any book where the dog (or any animal) dies... although as a kid, I read every dog/horse/cat book the library had... sheesh! I did a lot of crying!
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Debby G on April 25, 2008, 06:56 AM
In my Supernatural Rubber Chicken series, the mom is a writer who always stares at her computer and ignores her kids. (Write what you know.) In the first book of the series (coming June 10!), she wants to win a Newbery award and thinks up all these plots in which dogs die, or mothers die, or dogs and mothers die. It's obviously a pet peeve of mine, and was a lot of fun for me to write!
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: mswatkins on April 25, 2008, 11:25 AM
I think your logic is solid, kids, dog, newbery = dead dog.  Never read it, but I'd lay money on the hunch the dogs bites it.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: DonnaE on April 25, 2008, 11:37 AM
Well, shoot!

I told my son this was a great book no matter what, but for the moment, he's not going for it. Maybe he just needs to practice with "Shiloh" and "Where the Red Fern Grows" first...

Let this be a lesson to all of us who would kill off our animal friends in our books! (Not that my books HAVE any animals--although I was thinking of introducing a dog... who will now be immortal ... )


My 10 year old picked Where the REd Fern Grows to read this week. She can't put it down. She's been carrying it with her EVERYWHERE. SHe even took it to the grocery store AND ChikFilA to read while she waited.

I wanted to warn her that it would end with both dogs dying, so I asked if she wanted me to tell her. She said, "NO! Don't!" THEN, in the next breath she muttered, "These dogs better not die!" 

Um, I better have an emergency box of tissues and chocolate handy.

Perhaps Jack London's books might be a good chocie for her next time! :)


Hugs,
Donna

Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: momadigan on April 25, 2008, 02:49 PM
Note to self:

Pets must not die.

 :redbaron

 :tigger

I didn't want a Newbery, anyway.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: BJNewman on April 25, 2008, 03:26 PM
I'm with the son.

I avoid books and movies where things happen to pets or kids.

If I know about it before hand I won't read or watch it. Can't even do it with tough news stories.

Barbjn, putting head back in sand. I'd say "living in la la land" but now "La la" has a whole new meaning after that "It's Just a Plant" book.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: jheart on April 25, 2008, 05:09 PM
Donna,

When I was in the 4th grade my teacher read Where The Red Fern Grows to the whole class.  We cried buckets, even the boys.  Before that was Old Yeller and after was Savage Sam.  It was a very weepy year.  Good idea with the tissues & chocolates.

julie
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: writerjenn on April 27, 2008, 10:11 AM
It wasn't just Newbery winners.  It seemed like the pet died in every book I read growing up that had a pet in it.  The minute the animal first appeared in the story, I'd think, "uh oh."  It got to the point where I wouldn't even read a book if I knew the kid had a pet.
Pets generally don't live as long as people, and pet death is many kids' first encounter with death, so it's an important topic to have in some books.  Also, in Old Yeller, the killing of the dog was an essential part of the character's growth.  But still . . . I'd like to see just as many books where the animals don't die.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: AuntyBooks on April 27, 2008, 01:48 PM
Diane, the fact that the wild dogs ate the little brother was *much* more traumatic for me than the dogs death in this book. It's not for every kid.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Alison on April 27, 2008, 01:58 PM
I have a copy of NO MORE DEAD DOGS, which I've never gotten around to reading, and after reading all these posts, I was considering offering it to my 9-year-old son, who was sobbing last night about the movie THE WATER HORSE, which includes several kinds of losses (spoiler alert, but no, the water horse doesn't die--or at least, not until it's old!). I thought he'd appreciate something funny without the sadness. But the first few pages were about how his dad lied all the time, he was wrong in thinking his parents got along well, and his parents divorced when he was in 5th grade. I think that would make my son throw up as the way to start a funny book when he was already so sad about the idea of a dad gone off to war in that movie and already tense because DH and I were fighting today... So, that's not the funny book I'll be offering today! Maybe in a year or two.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Liz Straw on April 28, 2008, 02:13 PM
I remember looking and seeing if a book had an award and thinking it was the kiss of death (oops no pun intended :dr) for a book.  As a kid I never saw what was sooo great about most of those books and sometimes as an adult, I am left scratching my head.  Someone or someone's pet has to die or you have to become an adult at the age of 12?

Okay, there are great Newbery books out there, but in general I do not recommend them unless you want to cry. 

I am the same way with the books I read as an adult, mindless reading.  Take me away to where everything turns out okay.   :duel

Liz :writing
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Susan on May 24, 2008, 06:03 AM
This thread made me laugh.

Just last week we rented the DVD of I Am Legend, and almost as soon as it started I said, "How soon do we think the dog will die?"

Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on May 24, 2008, 06:06 AM
Just last week we rented the DVD of I Am Legend, and almost as soon as it started I said, "How soon do we think the dog will die?"

Oh, yeah. It is one of those moments where you think yelling at the tv will get the dog to safety.
Title: Re: Does the dog die?
Post by: pschmatz on May 24, 2008, 08:21 AM
The thing is, some kids have lives that are full of loss and death and sadness.  I had several pets die before I was ten, and I absolutely loved the dead dog books (Old Yeller being my personal favorite) because I got to have the feelings with those book-dogs that I couldn't have with my own, in the privacy of my own reading.  And I got to see how parents/kids dealt with loss in a different way than my own family.

Seriously, those kinds of dead-dog (and other loss) books got me through...