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Author: Stephanie S. Tolan

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Publisher: HarperTrophy, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, ´┐½2006

Material: paperback

Summary: Charley, a 12-year-old girl, is coping with the loss of her mother who died in an airplane crash in Brazil. That spring, Charley suffered a compound fracture of her right leg in an automobile crash. Charley used her a grueling physical therapy plan to help her return to excellent shape before school began in the fall. While running in the woods and around the ponds at Eagle Lake, Charley discovers that a wild dog is watching her. Charley named the dog Coyote and learns that even dogs have challenges. This is the story of how two of God´┐½s creatures overcome challenges, develop trust, and form an enduring friendship. This hi/low novel offers a story about self esteem, friendship, and perseverence.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 6.5

Age of Child: Reviewed by a student at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because it had a dog on it. The first chapter didn't say much, and my opinion didn't change as I kept reading. This was an alright book. It was kind of easy, but the storyline was good.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is an excellent coming-of-age story. The book reads like a Hallmark Presents theatrical offering: somewhat predictable but neither too sappy nor too sweet. Tolan is a classy author and has given us a wonderfully professional offering.

Pros: This is an excellent story that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

Cons: None.
Student reviewer: The book could be more exciting or harder.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. The story is excellent and the writing is superb. The book will delight adolescents and dog lovers everywhere.
Student reviewer: Borrow. [This is for] a smaller kid.


Educational Themes: This is a story of a young girl who, in addition to becoming an adolescent, has to learn to deal with the death of her mother and her own recovery from a serious and painful auto accident. The questions and concerns that confront Charley are those that many teenagers want to discuss but are reticent to do so. This book provides a starting point for opening discussion.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.5. The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animals, family, coming of age, death and loss, middle grade, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2008, November 2009

Other Reviews:


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