Title: Dalmatian in the DaisiesDalmatian in the Daisies
Author: Ben M. Baglio
Illustrator: Ann Baum
Pages: 154
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

Why do all of the Animal Ark books alliterate?

The Story.

School vacation has started and Mandy and James couldn’t be happier! There’s so much to do to fill up the time! They plan to walk Blackie, James’ dog, do a little bird watching, and, of course, help out at Animal Ark!

But then Mandy’s grandmother, Dorothy Hope, calls. She says there is a Dalmatian lying out in her daisy patch – she looks scared, undernourished, and very pregnant. The Hopes do all they can to save the dog – Daisy, as the call her – but she dies while delivering her pups.

Can Mandy and James find homes for Daisy’s pups? And can they discover who she belonged to in the first place?

Discussion.

Dalmation in the Daisies is the saddest / most touching Animal Ark I’ve read – the scene in which Daisy dies after pouring the last of her energy into delivering her pups is actually dramatic. (Having recently watched my own dog decline into death no doubt heightened this scene for me.)

But this book also has one of the more ridiculous subplots of the series – a rare osprey makes its nest at a local fishing spot. Mandy and the Society for the Protection of Birds (an actual group in the book, btw, not just me being sarcastic), want to protect the nest right where it is and ensure that it is undisturbed. They are horrified when several local fisherman voice their disapproval of this plan because it will make the stream unfishable. The fishermen’s solution – relocating the ospreys to a remote area – is viewed as greedy and selfish by Mandy and Co. How could they possibly prize a source of pleasure and food over the honored presence of two nesting ospreys?

Mandy refers to a location as magical.

‘Gosh’ is used once.

Conclusion. Okay – Dalmation in the Daisies definitely went for a more emotional route than the traditional Animal Ark story.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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