cover image Ginger


Kate Klimo, illus. by Tim Jessell. Random, $6.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-307-97899-8

Ginger, a guileless and energetic golden retriever, shares her peripatetic story in this spirited and occasionally heavy-handed first book in the Dog Diaries series. Born in a puppy mill, Ginger is transported to a pet store and separated from her litter mates; a couple buys her as a Christmas gift for their toddler. After the tyke bangs Ginger’s tail with a toy hammer, the puppy gives the boy’s hand “just the tiniest nip, enough to let him know not to try that again.” It’s also enough to convince the boy’s parents to take Ginger to an animal shelter. Following an ill-fated adoption, Ginger escapes and lives with a pack of wild dogs until a kindly man who rescues dogs takes her in. The novel has heart as well as a mission: in addition to Ginger’s heart-tugging recounting of maltreatment and misunderstandings, Klimo (the Dragon Keepers series) includes none-too-subtle lectures from veterinarians and other dog-loving adults, and an appendix offers information about golden retrievers, puppy mills, animal shelters, and choosing a dog. Simultaneously available: Buddy. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9–12. (Jan.)