Nothing Wrong with a Three-Legged Dog

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Overview

A heartwarming middle-grade novel about friendship, family, and dogs.

Keath and his best friend Lynda are in the fourth grade. Some kids call Lynda "Zebra," because her mother's black and her father's white. And Keath is Whitey. He's vanilla in a chocolate school where Toothpick, a bully, has it in for him.

Lynda and Keath both love dogs. When Keath grows up, he wants to ...
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Overview

A heartwarming middle-grade novel about friendship, family, and dogs.

Keath and his best friend Lynda are in the fourth grade. Some kids call Lynda "Zebra," because her mother's black and her father's white. And Keath is Whitey. He's vanilla in a chocolate school where Toothpick, a bully, has it in for him.

Lynda and Keath both love dogs. When Keath grows up, he wants to be a golden retriever. Dogs don't care about what color is the right one. Dogs don't hate anybody. Their favorite dog is Leftovers, Lynda's three-legged beagle. When he got hurt, his first owners gave up on him, but Lynda and Keath turn him into a winner, a pooch that shows Keath that sometimes it's good to stand out, to be special, and that even when you look different, there are ways to fit in.

With the help of his good friend and her three-legged dog, Leftovers, ten-year-old Keath learns how to handle the class bully and deal with being the only white boy in his class.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The author breathes refreshing life into two well-worn themes dealing with the class bully and wanting a dog," said PW of this book about fourth grade friends Keath and Lynda. Ages 7-11. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-5-Perhaps the best aspect of this story is McNamee's attempt to illustrate the social problems that can arise in a racially mixed environment. The book centers on Keath, a fourth grader who endures some punches and nicknames such as Whitey, Ghost, and Mayonnaise while attending an urban school. He's a virtual outcast until he is befriended by Lynda, who comes from a biracial family. The theme of social isolation is woven in throughout this book. Keath's grandmother has recently suffered a stroke, and the boy is afraid to visit her because she no longer speaks or looks quite the same. When his father tells him about the pets brought into convalescent homes for therapeutic reasons, he finds it easier to visit. He also begins helping Lynda and her father walk dogs after school and becomes attached to Leftovers, a three-legged beagle with one ear. A lot of interesting information about dog breeds, habits, and maladies is provided. Characterization and background are the strong aspects here; with its focus on issues, the story sometimes becomes thin in plot.-Sharon McNeil, Los Angeles County Office of Education Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Those who love dogs, relish humor, and understand not fitting in will adore McNamee's (Hate You, 1999) novel about fourth graders Keath (a.k.a. Whitey, etc.), his best friend Lynda (a.k.a. Zebra), and Lynda's maimed beagle, Leftovers (a.k.a. Predator). Attending a nearly all-black school downtown makes Keath prey to bullies like sharp-jointed Toothpick. If he looked like everybody else, Keath wouldn't be their main target, but as it is, a friend tells him, "You the worm, man." The bullies also hassle Lynda, daughter of a black, veterinarian mom and white, dog-walker dad. Keath, who can't resist or own dogs, meets Lynda as she carries "a shopping bag full of dog turds" behind her dad's canine cluster. Adults in this hugely readable book's cast of beautifully realized characters adroitly help Keath manage being a "freak." Mom's loving support, Dad's sensitive advice, and Gran's determined, post-stroke, one-handed efforts to create an origami frog that hops only to produce one that does "nothing but back flips" allow Keath to get over being creeped out by differences. When Leftovers wins a silver medal in a special dog show, Keath thinks it possible to "be like Leftovers and fit in in my own way"—but he still wants to be a golden retriever when he grows up. Viva la difference! is the inchoate, incalculably valuable message, sent via consummate craft, upbeat tone, and in-your-face humor in this deft, deep book. (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440416876
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham McNamee works at the Vancouver Public Library.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2002

    Even when you look different there are ways to fit in.

    What attracted me to this book was the title. Since one of my best friends dog has three legs now, I thought this book might be a bit similar as to what happened to my friends dog(but it wasn't). When I first looked at the front cover I thought the book was about a dog that got his leg amputated on for some reason, such as getting run over by a car. I thought that maybe he fell out of the wagon and that's how he could of gotten run over. What I thought was interesting about the book was that they had dog shows for handicapped dogs. I also enjoyed when the dog won a medal because when everyone left the show, they left with a happy feeling inside them. What I disliked about the book was when whitey (one of the kids from school) always made fun of all the kids. Always calling them names and picking on them. Another thing that I didn't like was that the dog in the book (leftovers) had a fake ear which they put on a peace of bone that was left for an ear.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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