Pick of the Litter

( 10 )

Overview

Tom's grandfather is recovering from heart surgery, so during summer vacation Tom is helping him with his hunting dog business. It's hard work, but Tom doesn't mind so much after he falls in love with one of the pups, a rare blue-eyed pointer Tom names Tad. It's almost as if Tad understands when Tom talks to him, especially about confusing things like how hard it is to write to Angie, a girl Tom met on vacation.

The trouble is, Grandpa promised the owner of the pup's sire the ...

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Overview

Tom's grandfather is recovering from heart surgery, so during summer vacation Tom is helping him with his hunting dog business. It's hard work, but Tom doesn't mind so much after he falls in love with one of the pups, a rare blue-eyed pointer Tom names Tad. It's almost as if Tad understands when Tom talks to him, especially about confusing things like how hard it is to write to Angie, a girl Tom met on vacation.

The trouble is, Grandpa promised the owner of the pup's sire the pick of the litter, and it's pretty clear that's Tad. Tom knows what he should do, but he can't help hoping there's a way to get around Grandpa's promise. How can he do the honorable thing when it will cost him what he wants most in the world?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As fifth grade draws to a close, Tom has to pay the price for blowing off spelling during the last few weeks of school and for lying to his teacher about doing his final spelling homework. But his teacher, knowing that Tom's grandfather has been sick, gives him a final chance to redeem himself by having him stay after school to write all his words. When she cannot find the work that he says he completed, she doubts him—until the janitor finds the papers. As soon as school is out, Tom heads over to his grandfather's house to help train his hunting dogs. And as summer progresses, he finds puppy love in two places—at the amusement park on the trip he takes with his parents and with one of Grandpa's puppies who he names Tad. He writes to Angie, his new girlfriend, to work through his dilemma when he learns that Grandpa has promised the pick of Tad's litter to the owner of the dog that fathered him. His teacher's words about honor echo with him and he offers Tad up as the pick of the litter. Fortunately, the owner wants a female and Tad goes home with Tom. This light, pleasant read has a nice message, although it is somewhat disjointed and feels like two stories at times. Although the protagonist is a boy, this story may appeal more to girls, particularly as the insightful, sensitive voice of the main character sounds more feminine than masculine. 2005, Holiday House, Ages 8 to 12.
—Moira Rose Donohue
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Although this book is about honor, it often veers off that subject into trivia or handles it too heavy-handedly. It is far more interesting when it focuses on how 12-year-old Tom Nash and his grandfather, who is recuperating from heart surgery, train hunting dogs. And its main conflict doesn't arise until halfway through. The story begins with Tom writing lists of spelling words at the end of the school year because he lied about having them ready to turn in earlier. He goes to soccer camp and helps his mother clean his grandfather's kennel and feed the dogs. He and his parents take a trip to Six Flags where they meet a couple whose daughter is around Tom's age. He makes an awkward attempt at conversation with Angie and they become friends. Finally, halfway through the book, Tom and Grandpa begin to teach the older dogs the finer points of hunting and training the puppies. Tom falls in love with a rare blue-eyed beagle pup that seems the best behaved and most attentive. The problem is that Grandpa has promised the owner of the sire the pick of the litter. Tom shares his worry in a letter to Angie but there is never any real mystery as to what he will do. Wallace uses a first-person narrative but feelings are often told rather than shown. Transitions can also be awkward. Dog books are perennially popular but consider this one only if stock is low and demand high. It's not really the pick of the litter.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416925118
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 5/9/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 212,234
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Wallace grew up in Oklahoma. Along with riding their horses, he and his friends enjoyed campouts and fishing trips. Toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories to scare one another, and catching fish was always fun.
One of the most memorable trips took place on the far side of Lake Lawtonka, at the base of Mt. Scott. He and his best friend, Gary, spent the day shooting shad with bow and arrows, cutting bank poles, and getting ready to go when their dads got home from work.
Although there was no "monster" in Lake Lawtonka, one night there was a "sneak attack" by a rather large catfish tail. Checking the bank poles was not nearly as fun or "free" after that point, but it was the inspiration for this story.
Bill Wallace has won nineteen children's state awards and been awarded the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Children's Literature from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Nine-Year-Old Animal Lover Enjoyed Wallace's Story

    Nine-year-old granddaughter, who loves animals, chose this book. The story grabbed her from the first page and kept her attention to the end. She asked for another Wallace book for Christmas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    If you like animals this is the perfect book for you

    If you like pet dogs and other kinds of animals it is a great book that gets exciting at the end. It is fun to read alone and a good challenge for second graders who enjoy reading and a very comfortable with chapter books. The book about a boy caring for the perfect puppy but another man has been promised the pick of the litter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Not the Best

    I did not like this book. I think it was EXTREMLY hard to follow and understand. I was hardly able to understand ANYTHING! I give it 2 stars because I sortof like reading Tom and Angie's e-mails

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2007

    awesome and exciting!!

    this book was short but sweet i would recamend it for readers 7-100 T_T

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2007

    so cute

    This book was awesome! There was lots of detail and I recommend everyone to read it, I mean all ages. This book is about a boy who wants a puppy and this guy is buying a puppy. Will the guy pick the puppy the boy wants? I hope you enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    A really good book

    This book I really recommended for children form ages 8-11 because it has mild language.Anyway, this book has a great plot.

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    Posted October 20, 2010

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted February 15, 2009

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    Posted June 22, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews

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