The PS Brothers

The PS Brothers

5.0 1
by Maribeth Boelts
     
 

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Russell and Shawn call themselves the PS Brothers: P is for poop, S is for scoop, and Brothers is because they’re best friends. Scooping poop is the fastest way to earn money to buy a puppy. These two are crazy about dogs. And they’re sure that once their puppy grows into a tough dog, no one will ever pick on them for

Overview

Russell and Shawn call themselves the PS Brothers: P is for poop, S is for scoop, and Brothers is because they’re best friends. Scooping poop is the fastest way to earn money to buy a puppy. These two are crazy about dogs. And they’re sure that once their puppy grows into a tough dog, no one will ever pick on them for being weak or poor again. Unfortunately, getting a puppy is not that easy. Russell and Shawn don’t count on uncovering a dog-fighting ring—and that can bust apart a dream faster than a dog can sniff out a bone.

But doing the right thing might still get them what they want—and maybe even more.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Heartwarming yet full of gritty issues." —Kirkus Reviews

"Part of the appeal of this book is its edginess. Shawn’s and Russell’s hardscrabble existences and their heartfelt yearning for a dog to defend them are compelling."—School Library Journal

"A lighthearted portrait of a strong friendship and a plucky kid who doesn't let tough circumstances get him down." —Booklist

"The book's accessibility and high-interest subject make it a natural for reluctant readers, and readers in general will appreciate Russell's moral dilemma and sigh in relief at the happy puppy-acquiring ending."—The Bulletin

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Russell and Shawn are not really brothers, but they feel like they could be—after all each counts on the other to provide companionship they do not find in their own families—with Shawn the youngest of a large, disconnected family and motherless Russell in the care of an uncle while his father serves a prison term. The two boys both are desperate for a dog, more specifically a "mean one"—not mean to them but to those who bully them and make fun of their families. To raise the money they come up with a plan for a "pooper-scooper" business (hence the P.S. in their corporate title). What they do not count on is uncovering a dog-fighting ring. Telling the story from the perspective of tough-talking but vulnerable Shawn is an effective way to keep the serious issues of abandonment and poverty the boys face from overwhelming the resourcefulness and resilience they show. The story resolves with the boys getting what they wanted, but without pretending that all the challenges in their lives will disappear. It is just that we know these two have the inner resources to continue to handle what comes along. The strong characterization of the two boys and the vivid language make this a good read, accessible to struggling readers in middle school. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Russell's life has been difficult ever since his mother died in a car accident and his father was arrested for theft. He's been living with his Uncle Cory, who allows him to stay by himself in an old pop-up camper in the backyard. Russell and his friend Shawn, who comes from a family of six boys and has to share a bedroom with four of them, wear old clothes that are often patched together with tape. Both boys are targets of teasing. When not in school, they spend their time at the library reading about dogs and dream about owning a tough one to defend them from bullies. When attempting to purchase one with money earned as the Pooper Scooper Brothers, the sixth graders encounter animal abuse and illegal dogfighting. Part of the appeal of this book is its edginess. Shawn's and Russell's hardscrabble existences and their heartfelt yearning for a dog to defend them are compelling. Though the story wraps up too neatly and some of the lessons learned seem forced, the characters are well developed and kids will enjoy the friendship between Russell and Shawn. The subject matter and simple, yet interesting, story line make this a good choice for reluctant readers.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Russell and best friend Shawn do everything together and share a dream of having a dog of their very own. Their perfect dog would be big and aggressive and inspire fear in the many bullies that plague the twosome at school. When the boys spot a sign advertising Rottweiler puppies for sale, they hatch a plan to earn $200 for one, and the PS (Pooper Scooper) Brothers business is launched. All seems to be going well until Russell stumbles upon evidence that the puppies' owner is engaged in illegal dog fighting. If Russell blows the whistle, he may lose the puppy and disappoint his buddy, but if he does not follow his conscience then more dogs will suffer. Boelts has her story elements all right: worn urban setting, quick comic dialogue, well-developed characters and a good dose of suspense. Especially affecting is the growing relationship between Russell and the uncle who took him in when his dad went to jail. Heartwarming yet full of gritty issues, this is a successful story for middle-grade readers who also like the works of Barbara O'Connor and Frances O'Roark Dowell. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781613833377
Publisher:
Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
137
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Heartwarming yet full of gritty issues." —Kirkus Reviews

"Part of the appeal of this book is its edginess. Shawn’s and Russell’s hardscrabble existences and their heartfelt yearning for a dog to defend them are compelling."—School Library Journal

"A lighthearted portrait of a strong friendship and a plucky kid who doesn't let tough circumstances get him down." —Booklist

"The book's accessibility and high-interest subject make it a natural for reluctant readers, and readers in general will appreciate Russell's moral dilemma and sigh in relief at the happy puppy-acquiring ending."—The Bulletin

Meet the Author

Maribeth Boelts has written many picture books, including Those Shoes, which was a Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor book. The PS Brothers is her first novel. She lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa. www.maribethboelts.com

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The PS Brothers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JDHoliday More than 1 year ago
Life is not easy for these two best friends Shawn and Russell who both lack many of the essentials of life. They both have to overcome adversity. They live in somewhat impoverish conditions and are bullied mainly because of it. Russell lives in a camping trailer behind his Uncle's house because Russell believes his Uncle Cory is irresponsible and not trustworthy according to his father who himself is in jail. But is Uncle Cory as irresponsible and not to be trusted as Russell's father says? The boys decide to get a dog to protect them from the bullies they have to deal with. They begin scooping poop one scoop at a time to make the $200 they need for one of Princess' puppies. Princess, a Rottweiller, looks vicious, far from what her name suggest of her. She seems to always want to attack them when they see her and her puppies in the basement of the house owned by a scary guy named Nick. One time, they arrive at the wrong time. It doesn't take much for Russell to understand something bad might be happening after hearing barking, growls, and cries from the dogs along with people seeming to be having a good time coming from the garage behind Princess' house. On the next visit to see their puppy and make another down payment on it, the boys discover not only is Princess cut up and injured but so are the three pit bulls that are kept cages in the yard. As the boys learn compassion for the dogs in trouble they see their vision of having a dog scary enough to protest them might not be the right thing at all. And that dogs can be in need of protection themselves not unlike Shawn and Russell. I loved this story. The author's clever writing on a serious subjects and the well timed jokes make it a book worth reading for grades 5 and up. ~ JD Holiday