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Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society

Overview

It is the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society. Dogs of all different backgrounds and breeds have gathered together to listen to the diaries of twelve dogs from around the world and throughout history. Abu is the ruler of ancient Egypt, but Miu, the Royal Cat, continues to challenge him, except at night.  Tidbit, born the runt of the litter, becomes a star singer at the Grand Ole Opry.  Jip leads his blinded master back home from the Civil War.  Mimi, a dog living in Paris, ...

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Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society

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Overview

It is the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society. Dogs of all different backgrounds and breeds have gathered together to listen to the diaries of twelve dogs from around the world and throughout history. Abu is the ruler of ancient Egypt, but Miu, the Royal Cat, continues to challenge him, except at night.  Tidbit, born the runt of the litter, becomes a star singer at the Grand Ole Opry.  Jip leads his blinded master back home from the Civil War.  Mimi, a dog living in Paris, shares her tips on bathroom protocol and dinnertime etiquette. And eight more!

 

Betsy Byars and her daughters, Laurie Myers and Betsy Duffey, the trio who brought you MY DOG, MY HERO and THE SOS FILE, have pooled their talents once again to write on a subject they love.  DOG DIARIES is a collection of humorous and touching stories, complemented by Erik Brooks' black-and-white illustrations, that will appeal to dog lovers of all ages.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking and perhaps even more interestingly what your dog and others might communicate to each other? The authors of this chapter book have given the dogs personalities, brains and furthermore they belong to the WOOF Society where they meet to share stories about their history, heroic exploits, and contemporary issues. It is just like a meeting that one would expect among humans, perhaps a bit more civilized and well run. As the dogs come forward, they relate their stories, which comprise the different chapters. There is the tale of Abu, the dog who ruled Egypt; another about a dog that escaped from Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted; an account from a Bassett hound who helps his master discover gold; a more contemporary tale about Tidbit who becomes a friend of the great country western singer Johnny Cash; and another dog who thwarts a bank robber. The black-and-white illustrations are wonderful and full of humor themselves. There are lessons about history, getting along in this world, right and wrong behavior, and it all is done in such an entertaining way that kids will not even realize that they are absorbing all this information. The good news is that if you are not a dog lover, then look for the next set of stories from the cat society MEOW, which I am sure will be just as entertaining.
Kirkus Reviews
Newbery Medalist Byars and her two daughters join forces for their third collaborative effort using a short-story format. An introductory chapter sets the stage for the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, a group of literate dogs compiling "Words of Our Friends." Eleven short narratives follow, told in first person by a variety of dogs from different eras and locations, from ancient times to the modern world. The historical settings include ancient Egypt, Pompeii during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the Gold Rush-era and the Civil War. Some of the stories are touching while others are humorous, including one from a dog who foils a bank robber and another about a dog who learns to "sing" at the Grand Ole Opry with Johnny Cash. The writing styles of the three authors and the length of stories vary widely, although this is in line with the supposed diversity of canine authors. Engaging illustrations in soft gray pencil endow each dog with additional personality, from Abu the hound in Egypt to Mimi the poodle in Paris. (Fiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805079579
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 308,909
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Byars, a Newbery Medal winner, and her two daughters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers—both well-known authors of books for young readers—have together written several popular story collections. Betsy Byars lives in South Carolina, and her daughters live in Georgia.

Erik Brooks has illustrated Boo’s Dinosaur by Betsy Byars and Monkey Business by Shirley Climo. He lives in the Methow Valley in north central Washington.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 6

Tidbit: A Star Is Born

 

Nashville, Tennessee, 1957

 

 

I was born the smallest of the litter. Even as a pup I had to fight to survive. While my brothers and sisters grew up to be fast and strong and to jump high, I grew up to be a beggar. While my brothers and sisters grew up handsome and sleek, I grew up ugly. I was a pitiful young thing, but even pitiful young things can have remarkable experiences in life—moments that change a life from pitiful to significant. This is one.

I took to the streets young, living beside Dumpsters or hanging out at the back doors of restaurants. I lived hand-to-mouth. I made the rounds in Nashville each morning, hoping the trash had been carelessly emptied behind the restaurants or that someone had not finished a Big Mac. I had no home. I lived a dangerous life, avoiding kicks and yells. 

One day as I made my usual rounds, I heard a noise coming from the back door of a building. It was a wonderful sound. A rhythmic boom boom. A soft gliding sound. A plunking and a twanging, all harmoniously rolled together. A sound that for the first time made me feel like I was home. I parked myself at that door, the back door to the Grand Ole Opry.

People coming in and out of the Opry are good people. They began to notice me, but instead of kicking and yelling at me, they were kind. They brought me snacks and patted my head.

I watched every night as a parade of boots went through that door. Lizard-skin boots, ostrich, elephant-skin—every color of the rainbow. There were amazing costumes in shiny patterns, tall wide hats. They were fancy people, but they were kind. Someone gave me a blanket one day. Once, I got a whole pork chop. 

Then one day I got something I thought I never would have in this world. A woman in a sequined dress with light blue boots bent down to give me a napkin full of small pieces of steak. But that wasn’t it. She patted my head and said, “Here you go, Tidbit.” Tidbit! I had a name. I had a home. I longed for a master, and above all I longed to go inside. I wondered would she take me inside? “Come on, Dolly,” someone called. And she was gone.

I listened every day to the music. The boom boom was a bass. The gliding sound, a fiddle. The plunk, a banjo; the twang, a guitar. Best of all were the voices. When I listened to the voices, my tail would thump. Then my body would twitch, then my nose would begin to rise up, and if the music was just right and just wonderful enough:   AOOOOOOOO! A sound worked up from the back of my throat to the bottom of my belly and let loose a long, mournful howl. 

Alone behind the Opry, I learned to sing.

Sometimes the people would gather at the back door with their instruments. They would play together, working out a little piece of music to perfection, or just making the music for the joy of it. I sat quietly on my blanket and listened. A man named Charles made the fiddle sing. The banjo jumped in the hands of Scruggs. A man named Porter had the glitteriest coat of all.

One time a different man came. A man with the blackest boots and tallest hat that I had ever seen. A man with the lowest, smoothest voice that I had ever heard. A man dressed all in black. He sang about trains and prisons and someone called Mama. He sang in the voice of pain and sorrow and too many nights out on the blanket. And my tail began to thump, my body to twitch, my nose to point up, up, and AOOOOOOOO. I joined his song.

“Hey, Johnny, you got some company,” the fiddle player said. Everyone laughed, but the music went on. Johnny and I sang one song after another. Then the fiddle player looked at me and said the words that would change my life, “Let’s take Tidbit on the Opry.”

Everyone stopped and looked down at me. I waited until I could stand it no more, then AOOOOOOOO. That did it. They all laughed, and the man in black picked me up.

“Ten minutes!” someone called from the door, and in we went. I had never been inside before. It was beautiful and warm. Then the fiddle player tied a red bandanna around my neck, and we walked onto the stage. I sat beside the black boots and looked out. 

I had never seen so many people before. Cameras flashed, people clapped. I got so nervous I almost wet the stage, but I stood tight and—boom boom—the bass began. The gliding fiddle joined in. Plunk and twang, and Johnny was singing about Mama.

I listened at first, too stunned to do anything. But then I was swept away by the sounds. My tail did not move at first, but as he sang on, my tail started thumping, my body started twitching, and my nose rose.

AOOOOOOOO

I no longer saw the crowds or the cameras.

I was lost in the music, singing with Johnny.

I was home.

When the music ended, there was quiet at first, then it all broke loose. I looked out and saw the people. They were cheering, and clapping, and jumping up and down. For that moment and forever after, my life was different.

If you saw me now, you might think that my life hadn’t changed much. I’m still pretty sad to look at, but I am not so hopeless after all. I wear my bandanna and ride in the bus with Johnny, right up in the front seat. Every once in a while, when it’s a slow night on stage, Johnny picks me up and says, “Sing one, Tidbit,” and my tail begins to thump, then my body begins to twitch, and I lift up my nose and join right in, AOOOOOOOO

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2009

    This was a enjoyable book. Its fun, light, and interesting. My daughter does not enjoy reading but this book she wanted to read from beginning to end!

    The animals in each chapter were really cute.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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