Gary Paulsen is defined by the wilderness, hard times, and his dogs. It is with his dogs that Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers is concerned. In this we read primarily of his beautiful lead dog Cookie and her many pups, races, and quirks.
It is an endearing story, highlighted by Cookie’s own intelligent character and enlivened by the darling shenanigans of her litters. Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers is a testament to the affection that Paulsen felt towards his dogs – love and amusement oozes out of every paragraph.
My biggest caution occurs in the first chapter in which Paulsen describes the mating of his two dogs, Rex and Cookie. As he puts it – and describes it to us – he “heard the puppies being made” in this scene. :-/
Paulsen is adamant in referring to his dogs as people – persons – with personalities and as important as people.
“We are so chauvinistic and so brainwashed to humans being superior to all other forms that the ignorance this causes has become something close to horrific. The bull about manifest destiny and how we have dominion over all other creatures has caused such terrors as vivisection, cosmetic testing, use of animals in aerospace testing , and I think ultimately led to such monstrosities as death camps and genocide, which are really nothing more than an insanely rabid expression of one race thinking they are superior to another.” [pg. 33]
After one of his dogs dies, Paulsen hopes that “wherever dogs go she would find a lot of good meat and fat and now and then a run.” Pg. 81]
‘H—’ (fully spelled), ‘bull’, ‘God’, and ‘darn’ are each used once while ‘heck’ is used twice.
Conclusion. Not especially recommended.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret