Title: Spaniel in a Stocking0-439-87118-2
Author: Ben M. Baglio
Pages: 148
Recommended Ages: 8-10
Star Rating: ★★★

Yet another story from the Animal Ark.

The Story.

Mandy is so excited. It looks as though they’ll have a white Christmas in Welford after all! She and James can make snowmen and have snow fights and, above all, the snow will make Welford seem like a genuine Winter Wonderland for their Christmas Eve fundraiser.

But when the heavy snowfall shuts down the electricity in Welford, things begin to look dark. Without electricity, it becomes increasingly difficult to treat sick animals. And, how can you have a Christmas Eve fundraiser in the dark? Suddenly, Mandy realizes that maybe the snow isn’t so wonderful after all…

Discussion.

I was pleased with Mandy and James’ relationship, which stays entirely chummy and never borders on the flirtatious. Also, instead of continually falling in and out of arguments, Mandy and James interact playfully but with respect towards one another.

At the beginning of the story, Mandy is excited by the prospect of snowfall and can’t understand why her parents and grandparents aren’t as thrilled as she is. She even thinks that “grownups just don’t get it.” She complains to her Mom that all she does is “moan about the snow.” [pg. 31] However, when the electricity gives out, Mandy comes to realize that snow isn’t all fun and games. It has practical inconveniences. And when plans are ruined by the snow and animals’ lives are endangered by it, Mandy realizes that she was foolish to think as she did and comes to a perspective like that of her parents. She never apologizes to them or anything, but then, she was never very disrespectful to them, either.

The fundraiser that Mandy and her parents are planning is actually a dance. When trying to decide what kind of music to have at it, Mandy’s grandfather suggests jazz but is quickly voted down in favor of a modern DJ. Within the story, Mandy makes friends with Lauren, a girl whose mom is in a folk band named Cloud Dancers that plays “kind of punky” music. In the end, Cloud Dancers provides the music for the fundraiser.

Mandy thinks how she’d like to build a ‘Santa-styled’ snowman. Later, when giving treats to a dog patient, Dr. Hope jokes that “Santa’s come a couple days early this year.” [pg. 121] Mistletoe is hung at the fundraiser, but no one gets kissed.

Conclusion. Pretty good. Not amazing and not without problems, but sweet nonetheless.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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