The Guardian Team: On the Job with Reena and Roo

Overview


Shepherds have used dogs to protect livestock for thousands of years. But burros also have a natural instinct to protect, which makes them a perfect guardian animals as well. Meet Rena and Roo, a super dog-and-burro guardian team at work on a sheep ranch in Wyoming. The animals have a close connection with the sheep they protect, but it takes time and effort for Rena and Roo to grow to trust one another. In this companion book to her award-winning Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs, Cat Urbigkit uses simple, informative ...
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Overview


Shepherds have used dogs to protect livestock for thousands of years. But burros also have a natural instinct to protect, which makes them a perfect guardian animals as well. Meet Rena and Roo, a super dog-and-burro guardian team at work on a sheep ranch in Wyoming. The animals have a close connection with the sheep they protect, but it takes time and effort for Rena and Roo to grow to trust one another. In this companion book to her award-winning Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs, Cat Urbigkit uses simple, informative text and eye-catching photographs to show how Rena and Roo develop into guardian animals.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heather Welsh
Poor Roo the burro has it rough right from the start: she's a runt and an orphan. Then Roo is taken to a farm full of runts and orphans. She enjoys meeting all the lambs that could use a big, strong animal like herself to watch over them. Then Roo meets Rena the dog, who is also a runt. At first, they disagree about who should be the guardian of the lambs. What they don't know is that burros and guard dogs are both naturally good at watching over herds of sheep. Farmers often use them to keep the herds safe. Over time, Roo and Rena learn to trust and respect each other, even playing games of tag. Their jobs change as the lambs grow into sheep, but Rena's and Roo's friendship only grows stronger. The beautiful photography will make you feel like you are actually there with these two lovable animals. The author's note at the end gives more information on actual farms that use these animals for herding. There is also a short bibliography at the end, which would be a great introduction for young students. Reviewer: Heather Welsh
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Caution: This book may cause the warm-fuzzies. Orphaned wild burro Roo and litter-runt puppy Rena become livestock guardians and, eventually, friends on the author's ranch. They are initially paired to protect lamb orphans from predators. Youthful, mutual wariness eventually unfolds into friendship between the two. In the meantime, their work is displayed in words and pictures. Roo is shown in a stare-down with a distrusted ram, keeping him from her flock. Rena sniffs inquisitively and lovingly at her charges. Lambs go about their adorable lamby business. Heartwarming photos and clear, accessible text combine to make this story a winner. Display this book with Jon Katz's Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm (Holt, 2011), another fine, nonfiction photo-fest of working farm animals. The Guardian Team is perfect for classroom—and family—reading time. Lovely.—Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews

An unusual duo finds a sense of home and purpose on Urbigkit's Western ranch.

Roo and Rena (a wild donkey and canine runt) learn to protect their herd of motherless lambs through bonding and socialization. Each relates to their young charges in her own way; Roo frolics with the group, while Rena first grooms the babes she protects. Initially wary of each other, the pair develops a united front when a ram intrudes on their territory. Maturation affects not only the growing sheep; it also alters the guardians' work assignments. Overall, the matter-of-fact tone describes authentic behavior, though, occasionally, the voice gushes discordantly ("the orphans were growing into beautiful adults"). Clear photographs emphasize interactions up close: In a moment of spontaneous affection, Rena gently nestles her paw against the burro's face. Though the layout is nothing exceptional, crisp shots capture each slight nuance in nonverbal communication. The use of perspective highlights shifts in time; initially, Rena resembles those she supervises (slim in stature with her fluffy, white coat) until the following spring, when she towers over the flock's newest additions.

This snapshot of animal dynamics presents a rugged picture of one surprising friendship. (author's note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590787700
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 485,053
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Cat Urbigkit is a news reporter and rancher. Her research in livestock protection has taken her from the sagebrush desert of Wyoming to the mountains of Kurdistan. She is the author and photographer of Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep, an IRA Notable Children's Book; and author of Path of the Pronghorn, with photographs by Mark Gocke. She lives in Pinedale, Wyoming.
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