Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs

Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs

4.5 2
by Michaela Muntean

An irresistible family of dogs and the man who believed in them.

Meet Luciano Anastasini, a man who calls the circus home.
Meet ten dogs that have no home.

When fate brings man and dogs together, a remarkable story of belief and second chances unfolds. So step right up, and prepare to be amazed!

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An irresistible family of dogs and the man who believed in them.

Meet Luciano Anastasini, a man who calls the circus home.
Meet ten dogs that have no home.

When fate brings man and dogs together, a remarkable story of belief and second chances unfolds. So step right up, and prepare to be amazed!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
If readers haven’t already encountered Luciano Anastasini and his Pound Puppies on the circus circuit, they’ll finish this book begging their elders for a ticket to the next performance. With prose and photos that strike an ideal balance between journalism and storytelling, Muntean (Do Not Open This Book!) and the husband-and-wife team of Bailey (a photographer) and Kazmierski (a cinematographer) tell the touching story of how Anastasini, who comes from a long line of circus performers, joined forces with 10 canine misfits from animal shelters, including Penny, a cross-eyed bichon frise who had been adopted and returned three times, and Bowser, a thieving beagle mix. Their new owner approached the dogs with compassion and ingenuity: rather than bend these mutts to his will, writes Muntean, Anastasini “let them show him what they wanted to do. Then, somehow, he’d figure out a way to let them do it.” Exuberant color photos portray the team hanging out, honing the act, and working in the ring, and every picture makes the mutual love and dedication between dog and owner clear. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Suzanne Javid
A true-life narrative about man and his best friend, in this case, one man and ten of his best friends—Luciano Anastasini and ten dogs that have no home. Ten dogs who are grumpy, scruffy, restless and broken. Dogs who have done things they wish they had not. Luciano, who calls the circus home and who comes from a long and distinguished line of circus performers, finds his acrobatic career ended by a fall. Not wanting to leave the big top, Luciano plans for an act of his own. An act, he imagined that would need partners—furry, four-legged partners. If his idea worked, he would be getting a second chance to do what he loved. Thinking he could give some dogs a second chance, too, Luciano looks for those no one else wants. Not only did he adopt abandoned dogs but also dogs whose owners labeled them hopeless and had given up on them. Not being a dog trainer, Luciano starts with five dogs and lets each dog show him what they want to do. This story is about fate bringing man and dogs together, giving second chances and believing a new lease on life is possible for all. Young readers will love the theme of dogs and the circus. Engaging photographs and rich, strong colors allow the youngest readers to focus on the book with an adult reader or paging through on their own. Text is placed in an outlined block, making it easier to differentiate between pictures and information. Older children will love the variety of breeds presented as well as the daily ritual of caring for and grooming dogs. This will be a favorite to read again and again. The combination of dogs and circus is pretty irresistible. Enjoy. Reviewer: Suzanne Javid
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This eye-popping photo essay describes how Luciano Anastasini, a seventh-generation circus performer whose acrobatic career was cut short by a fall, adopted and trained abandoned dogs to create a unique act. He began with five quirky pound pups: Bowser, a shameless bandit; Penny, a dizzy dame; Stick, a scrounger; Tyke, a contrary canine; and Cocoa, a compulsive digger. Not a dog trainer by any means, Anastasini decided to get to know each animal, learn what it liked to do, and use its idiosyncrasies to put together an act. After two years of hard work, the troupe was ready to perform. The dogs were naturals: "They loved the energy, the charge of being in the spotlight….They were ready for the Big Top." Today they perform for some of the best circuses all over the country, and the crew has doubled. In a letter to readers, Anastasini explains how important it is to be "kind, consistent, and patient" when training a dog. Humorous, exuberant full-color photographs of the performers paired with engaging text and a bright, colorful design make this book a winner. Children will love this success story about misunderstood pups, second chances, and the magic of the circus.—Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
What's more fun than bread and circuses? Dogs and circuses--or so young readers will learn from this sweet book about the bond between man and canine and just letting a dog do what a dog's gotta do. After a serious fall ended his acrobatic career, long-time circus performer Luciano Anastasini devised a new act that combined his love of circuses and dogs. But these were no purebreds or pet-shop animals. Understanding that a dog act would give his own career a second chance, Luciano decided to give a new lease on life as well to dogs that no one else wanted. Taking in shelter animals, he observed them closely and then trained them to perform stunts that allowed the dogs' own natural instincts and talents to come to the fore. In so doing, Anastasini created a show that reflected his love and respect for the dogs and their traits and inherent skills. The animals have repaid Luciano with affection, trust, obedience and remarkable showmanship. The excellent photographs show off these dogs at their frisky, shaggy, twinkly-eyed best and reveal born performers. Readers would be hard-pressed to find a cuter, more diverse group of pooches anywhere and are guaranteed to smile throughout. Charming; four (or, in this case, 40) paws up, way up. (introduction by Kate DiCamillo, letter to readers from Luciano) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Michaela Muntean is the author of numerous books, including Do Not Open This Book!

K.C. Bailey is a photographer who specializes in images for movies. Her personal work focuses on animal rescue. A Bark Magazine contributor, she lives in New York City with her husband, Stephen Kazmierski, and their shelter dog, Finney.

Steve Kazmierski is a cinematographer with two decades of experience in feature films, documentaries, music videos, and commercials.

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Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
cabot More than 1 year ago
Although I bought this as a birthday gift for our granddaughter who is a total dog lover, I enjoyed the story and photos myself and am looking forward to her reaction when she reads it in August (if I can wait that long to give it to her!).
barbara-by-the-bay More than 1 year ago
STAY is such a wonderful story; the photographs are so engaging; and the colors are so rich and strong. I think the design is very well done, and makes the book very adaptable for a broad age range of young children. I work with young children with special needs, and I especially like having the text in an outlined block, particularly for children with visual perception issues or learning disabilities that can affect their ability to differentiate visual information on a page. It also allows for the photos to be the focus of the book for younger children, and creates the opportunity for a parent, teacher, or adult reader to guide the child to "read" and interpret the photos, while paraphrasing the text. The book also is a great way to present differentiation within a category - dogs - for children who are cognitively ready for that. I've used it with a number of children between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 years old. I’ve also used it in a preschool class of typically developing children where I support the mainstreaming of a little girl with special needs. The story is rich and complex, and offers an excellent, true-life, narrative experience for kindergarteners and first graders as well. All the children loved STAY and wanted to read it again. As one little boy, whose not quite three, closed the book, we looked at the back cover, naming each of the dogs. He then turned the book over and said, "More dogs!"