Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs

Michaela Muntean, illus. by K.C. Bailey and Stephen Kazmierski. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-23497-9
If readers haven’t already encountered Luciano Anastasini and his Pound Puppies on the circus circuit, they’ll finish this book begging their elders for a ticket to the next performance. With prose and photos that strike an ideal balance between journalism and storytelling, Muntean (Do Not Open This Book!) and the husband-and-wife team of Bailey (a photographer) and Kazmierski (a cinematographer) tell the touching story of how Anastasini, who comes from a long line of circus performers, joined forces with 10 canine misfits from animal shelters, including Penny, a cross-eyed bichon frise who had been adopted and returned three times, and Bowser, a thieving beagle mix. Their new owner approached the dogs with compassion and ingenuity: rather than bend these mutts to his will, writes Muntean, Anastasini “let them show him what they wanted to do. Then, somehow, he’d figure out a way to let them do it.” Exuberant color photos portray the team hanging out, honing the act, and working in the ring, and every picture makes the mutual love and dedication between dog and owner clear. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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