"Sniffing Out Good Stories," March Book Buzz Theme - The Missourian: Newspapers In Education

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"Sniffing Out Good Stories," March Book Buzz Theme

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Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014 4:33 pm | Updated: 9:57 am, Tue Mar 4, 2014.

Newsbee usually scopes out super stories with his antennae, but this month he headed to the doghouse for his “Sniffing Out Good Stories” theme. He sent his barky-buddies on the trail to hunt for tales to woo kids to the page. Of course the canine’s Picks went straight to the dogs.

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It’s peevish when a pup’s claim to fame isn’t his pedigree, but his looks. “Spike, the Ugliest Dog in the Universe,” makes peace with his appearance in a book with a fun twist by Debra Frasier.

Everyone wants to be in the newspaper, unless it’s for winning a contest like Spike did. What pet desires a glossy print and story about being the ugliest in the land? Not Snow White’s mom, and certainly not Spike. The contest was a precursor to what lay ahead. The pooch’s owners strand him, leaving Spike homeless.

Luckily little Joe is his neighbor. The boy takes a shine to Spike, only to hear his mom say they can’t afford a dog. Spike refuses to be a pound drop-off and consults the fluffy kitty next door for tips on being irresistible so Joe’s mommy will see he won’t be any trouble.

Fate steps in when that doesn’t happen, and Spike rises like cream to the surface. When it comes to cat nabbing, Spike doesn’t catnap.

* * * * * * * * * * *

A dog with scent-sense is front and center in a new book by St. Louis author Carolyn Mueller. You’ll love reading about Lily, the star of “Lily, a True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado,” based on the weimaraner’s efforts as a search and rescue dog instrumental in the tragic Missouri event.

Tara Prosser got Lily when the pup was quite small, but soon her paws were as sizeable as her energy. In an effort to channel the swirling gray’s zip, Tara trains her to search for the lost and deceased.

Lily meets with success. Fate leads her to the place she needs to be when a horrific tornado sweeps through Joplin in 2011, reducing the town to rubble, a mishmash of streets strewn with uprooted trees, overturned cars, and people buried underneath it all.

With courage, Lily does the work she’s trained to do, Tara by her side. Graphic art by Nick Hayes depicts in vivid detail the search and rescue team’s goodwill efforts, in a heartwarming story you won’t soon forget.

* * * * * * * * * * *

A mix-up casts three creatures into the Canadian wilderness, an old English bull terrier, perky Labrador retriever and regal Siamese cat. The companions, dedicated to one another, eventually find their way back to their former home, their only map their primal instincts.

Published in 1960, “The Incredible Journey, a Tale of Three Animals,” by Sheila Burnford remains a beloved classic.

When the pet’s owner, Mr. Longridge, leaves his home for a vacation, he assumes the animals will be cared for by of his housekeeper, who looks in on his property. But there’s a miscommunication; she believes the trio of friends have gone along with him. That isn’t the case, of course. For 250 miles, the companions travel on through the dense woods. Along the way, they battle wild animals, floodwaters, fatigue and ever-present hunger, using their noses and intuition to guide them.

Their trail of danger is fraught with near disaster, and skillfully rendered in black and white illustrations by Carl Burger. Here’s an old favorite sure to be a new favorite of young readers and their families alike.

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