Children's Literature - Beverly KobrinIn 1974, Mary Shields became the first woman to cross the Iditarod finish line. Shortly after I met her-and she took me on an exciting sled-dog ride-I read and recommended her Sled Dog Trails, for her race reminiscences and other glimpses of an adventurous independence not possible in the lower 48 states. Since then, Ms. Shields, who also raises sled dogs, has written a perfectly paced trio for very young readers: Can Dogs Talk?, Loving a Happy Dog, and Secret Messages: Training a Happy Dog. In the first she explains to young friends how dogs communicate; in the second, she tells them about the responsibilities of owning a dog throughout its entire life; and in the third, she helps them learn how to train a puppy. Donna Gates' colorful illustrations depict Ms. Shields in and around her cabin, the two young friends who visit to seek advice, and their dogs.
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