Picture Book Review: Rottweilers Are The Best!

 

Title: Rottweilers Are The Best!

Author:  Elaine Landau

Publisher: Lerner

ISBN: 978-0761350590

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

What’s that big dog with the powerful body and rusty orange markings? It’s the Rottweiler! Rottweilers are courageous dogs with an even temper and a great sense of humor. Their owners think they are the best dogs ever¯and it’s easy to see why. If you’re a Rotty fan, you’ll want to learn all about this breed, from its history as a working dog in the Roman Empire to its search and rescue service in World War I. You’ll also want to find out how to care for the Rottweiler. So check out this go-to guide for Rottweiler lovers¯and learn all about why Rottweilers are the best breed there is!

Review:

I saw this book at the library and promptly checked it out.  I didn’t even look at anything other than the puppy on the cover.  Yet again, my cover blinders dictated my reading material!  I wanted to see what the author had to say about Rotties, because I already know that they are the best dogs ever.  Even slightly socially awkward specimens like mine.  He has so many good qualities that I don’t mind occasionally overlooking the few bad ones when they rear their very ugly head.  But then again, I love my family dearly, and they aren’t always fun to hang out with, either!

This book covers basics about the breed; history, temperament, characteristics.  I agreed with everything mentioned, though I found that there is some information that is lacking.  Sadly lacking, in fact!  It brings up their thick double coats, but doesn’t mention how they slobber and drool on hot days, as they swelter in their fur.  We have to run the air conditioning when it gets too hot, because Buu becomes a moist ball of fur.  Especially around his neck.  If he leans on you and demands pets, you get soaked.  It’s kind of gross, but I must have gotten used to it, because I don’t even squirm when I end up with slobber pools on my clothes.  With that double coat, they also shed non-stop, even with frequent brushing. 

I like that the book stresses the importance of early training.  Every dog needs to learn basic commands, but it’s critical with larger breeds.  My Rottie is 120 pounds.  That’s a big, strong dog!  He needs to understand that he can’t just run around and do whatever he likes.  Getting tackled hurts.  Getting dragged across the lawn is embarrassing.  Buu has pretty good manners, but he gets a bit overprotective. Our house is his castle, too.  He hates when the UPS driver puts packages on the back deck.  That’s his deck!  How dare he put boxes on his deck!!  At least I always know when I’m getting a delivery.  Buu starts barking as soon as the truck stops.

The photographs are wonderful!  There are some great action shots, and some very cute cuddling shots.  For a big dog, Rotties love cuddles.  I don’t think people understand the awesomeness of Rottweiler cuddles.  This is a dog that is made to be hugged!  Solid, sturdy, just the right size for a hug and a kiss on the head.  Almost every picture portrays the dogs panting, with their tongues hanging out.  Yup, that is a Rottie, all right.  They are always panting, even with the A/C blasting solely for their benefit.

I enjoyed this book, but I am biased about the content. I believe that young readers who love dogs will most definitely like this book.  The page layouts are very attractive, it’s colorful, and the pictures are so engaging.  Read it, and you’ll agree that Rottweilers are the best dog ever!

Grade: A-

Review copy received from my local library

Review: Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

 

Title: Everything I Was

Author: Corinne Demas

Publisher: Lerner Publishing
Group

ISBN: 978-0761373032

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

"My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene’s journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to–well, she’s not entirely sure where. Irene’s father, a corporate VP, is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can’t find work, her family’s lifestyle–and her mother’s spending–quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they’re forced to move in with Irene’s grandfather in the family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of Irene’s life takes a surprising turn, and Irene must decide what she wants for herself after losing everything she was.

Review:

Wow, I enjoyed this book so much!  I don’t like the cover at all, though, and it turned me off of the book at first.  Then I read the synopsis again, and decided that the cover didn’t really matter anymore.  I loved the premise of Everything I Was, and I was curious to see if it had any similarities to Where I Belong.  Both books have protagonists who are forced to re-evaluate their lives after their fathers lose their high paying jobs.  I liked Irene from the beginning of the book, whereas Corinne, from Gwen Heasley’s story, took a bit for me to warm up to.

Everything I Was is a very understated book, and it has a slice of life vibe.  It is more suited to MG readers, though, than YA, and the cover does not adequately reflect the age of the protagonist.  I thought the heroine would be an older teen, but Irene is thirteen, and from the first page, she proved to be level-headed and practical.  It’s her mother who hungers for the finest things in life, and when Irene’s father is laid off, they are forced to give up their fancy apartment in New York City and move in with her grandfather. 

One thing about Irene that I liked was how down to earth she was.  She didn’t come across as a spoiled rich kid, but instead tried to find the bright side to her change in scenery.  It’s difficult for her to leave behind her friends and her old room, and the thought of having to go to another school is very upsetting to her, but she doesn’t let it color her life.  She adapts, she adjusts, and once she meets the kids in the large Fox family, she settles into her new surroundings with a contentment she didn’t have in the city.

Irene isn’t a perfect kid, but she isn’t a self-indulgent brat, either.  She has the loving support of her grandfather, which helps her through this difficult period in her life.  Her greatest conflict occurs with her mother; while Irene takes her new circumstances in stride, her mother is bitter about it, as well as ashamed.  She lies to her friends about the move, and Irene, confused by her mother’s behavior, begins to do the same.  She won’t confide in her best friends in NYC, and she is embarrassed at the thought of attending her old school on a scholarship.   Like her mother, she is afraid of the stigma attached to the scholarship, and would prefer that her old friends not know that her father, once a high earning executive, is currently unemployed.

I read Everything I Was in two sittings – I couldn’t put the book down.  Corinne Demas’ writing style is straightforward and compelling, and highlights how little, everyday events change Irene’s expectations for life.  She finds deep and lasting friendships with the Foxes’ and falls in love for the first time.  She learns that life isn’t fair, and she learns to make the best of what she does have.  The character interactions kept me engrossed in the story, and I am so glad that I didn’t judge this book by its cover.

Grade: A-

Review copy provided by publisher