Just a Dog by Michael Gerard Bauer. Scholastic, Inc; 2012. 144 pages.
When Corey was just a little toddler, his parents allowed him to choose which puppy he wanted out of his uncle's litter of dalmatian-mixes. Corey, being so little himself, was overwhelmed by the herd of pups that ran his way, so instinctively he pointed to the one that was the "mostly" white one and was calmly hanging back. The name Mostly stuck - though when one is only three years old, pronouncing certain letters isn't the easiest of things, so Mostly was dubbed Mosely, had a Mister attached to his name and became a very dear member of the family and was not just a dog.
Mister Mosely, like many dogs has his own quirks, like being afraid of thunder but he also has a big heart, one that was too big for his chest which is why he has a heart-shaped mark. Mosely puts up with a lot and is the gentlest of creatures, allowing Corey's sister to dress him up, color him and cover him with glitter. Corey is very close to his dog learning a hard lesson about life when Mosely gets injured and he has to take care of his special friend. Just a Dog is a wonderful story about a boy and his dog.
This is a very sweet and moving book that is perfect for dog fans of all ages, though some content may be difficult for readers under 8 years of age/3rd grade since the book does deal with the death of a beloved pet. Bauer's writing style draws readers into the story of a very remarkable dog with an uncanny sense of what those around him need and paints a picture in the reader's mind with his descriptions written from the perspective of an eleven year old boy. The book also deals with rather difficult family dynamics as the relationship between the Corey's parents does face several bumps in the road and he is witness to some of those situations, giving readers a glimpse of how an eleven year old interprets and reacts to his parents behavior.
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