Waggit's Tale

Waggit's Tale

4.7 37
by Peter Howe

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He is nameless. He is homeless. He is lost.

Until he is found . . . by a team of mutts who shelter him and teach him how to survive the wilds of the city park.

And so he becomes Waggit, the best hunter and tracker in the pack.

But life in the park is dangerous and uncertain. In winter, food and warmth are scarce. Another team of wild dogs is a


He is nameless. He is homeless. He is lost.

Until he is found . . . by a team of mutts who shelter him and teach him how to survive the wilds of the city park.

And so he becomes Waggit, the best hunter and tracker in the pack.

But life in the park is dangerous and uncertain. In winter, food and warmth are scarce. Another team of wild dogs is a constant menace. And there is always the fear of capture by park rangers. Waggit can't help feeling that something is missing . . . something warm and cozy . . . and human. Then one day everything changes and Waggit must face a new threat and a new choice.

Peter Howe's tale of an abandoned puppy's search for home is an exciting mix of humor, adventure, and suspense. Most of all, it is a story of how love can turn strangers into family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Photographer Howe's first novel, based on his rescue of an abandoned dog in 1981, is a coming-of-age tale told from the canine perspective, with ample anthropomorphizing. Believing he has been separated from his owner, Waggit crisscrosses Central Park until he is befriended by Tazar, leader of a band of generally affable strays ("We are our own masters; we owe obedience to no one," Tazar sternly tells Waggit). Waggit's new "brothers and sisters" teach him survival skills that may make vegetarians squirm, and he contributes by trapping "scurries" and "hoppers" when winter descends and food becomes scarce. A battle with a rival pack and the ever-present threat of park rangers who take dogs to the Great Unknown provide tension-Waggit gets captured, but ultimately gains a new home and owner. Dog lovers (especially New Yorkers) will enjoy the knee-high view of the park and Howe's take on canine vernacular-it's not Central Park West but "Goldenside," and humans are "Uprights." (A glossary and birds'-eye-view map marking both geography and plot points are provided.) Howe doesn't sugarcoat the lives of homeless dogs, and readers will find themselves drawn into the struggles and triumphs of Waggit's found family. Ages 10-up. (July)

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Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
A tale of several tails, but as the title suggests, mainly Waggit's tail. Or is that tale? It is both, really, from Waggit's being abandoned in the park to his happy ending with a kind woman. What happens in between shouldn't happen to any dog, but, unfortunately, it is a common occurrence. Though Waggit's "upright" releases him in a park—never to be seen again—he is discovered by Tazar, leader of a dog pack living in the park. Tazar takes Waggit under his protective paw, having observed the new pup as he struggled to find his owner. There is conflict: with another group of territorial dogs, hunger and descriptions of large food gatherings throughout the year, group conflicts within and outside the group, and one incident of "puppy love" resulting in adding to the already stressed pack. Howe's story is okay, not great, and is a very slow read. Yes, the map of the area is fun and helpful (also reminiscent of Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood drawing), as are some of the situations the dogs find themselves in, as well as the diversity of the dogs. The moral of the story is to trust your group of friends only, and be wary of what you don't know. While it may work in the animal kingdom, it is a stretch to translate this to human applications. Perhaps that is the intent. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

An abandoned puppy meets Tazar, leader of a pack of dogs that ekes out a precarious living in Central Park. The animals accept him and name him Waggit, after his constantly wagging tail, and he gradually learns how to hunt and scavenge for food and negotiate the many hazards of the park. Most important of all, he learns to distrust humans, or "Uprights." Then Waggit is captured by animal-control officers and taken to the pound. When a woman adopts him, he discovers what it's like to be a companion dog and to be treated kindly by a human, even though it means being completely dependent. This is an engaging story, and the various canine characters are depicted in loving detail. Howe does not romanticize the lives of feral dogs; Waggit, Tazar, and the rest of the pack contend with hunger, illness, and serious injuries. However, the tone of this book is less somber than Ann M. Martin's A Dog's Life (Scholastic, 2005), which deals with similar subject matter.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
Howe makes an auspicious children's-book debut in this satisfying novel about an abandoned puppy who finds a family among a pack of stray dogs in Central Park. The pup, dubbed "Waggit" by his new friends, soon finds himself adapting to their ways and discovers his talents as a hunter and tracker. A fearsome group of enemy dogs, however, shares the same domain and leads an equally precarious life. Readers will get caught up in the dogs' adventures and the sad realities of life as a stray: The pound is an ever-present threat, one that Waggit learns about from first-paw experience. His rescue by a loving woman leads to a touching conclusion. Waggit's relationship with his compatriots develops well and lovingly, with humor. While the dogs speak English for readers' convenience, children will nevertheless get a realistic and sobering idea of the dangers strays face, and they will be heartened by the dogs' intelligence and camaraderie. A pleasant read for middle graders, dog lovers or otherwise. (glossary) (Fiction. 9-12)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“The story will appeal to young dog lovers and to devotees of New York City and Central Park.”
ALA Booklist
“Howe’s children’s-book debut presents a charming, mostly episodic tale complete with endearing characters.”
Newark Star Ledger
“A richly imagined story of a puppy, abandoned by his owner. Will delight readers 10 and up, and younger children are likely to enjoy it read aloud.”
Litchfield County Times
“A charming, sometimes heartbreaking tale.”
“Peter Howe’s Waggit’s Tale, about an abandoned puppy surviving in the wilds of a city park while looking for friendship, mises emotion and suspense.”
Quick & Simple
“This children’s book will pull your heartstrings!”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Waggit , #1
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Howe was born in London, lived in New York for more than thirty years, and currently resides in Connecticut with his wife and two dogs. He is a former New York Times Magazine and Life magazine picture editor and the author of two books on photography, Shooting Under Fire and Paparazzi. He is also the author of the Waggit’s Tale series, about an abandoned dog and his pack who live in Central Park.

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Waggit's Tale 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good but I got sad when he left the team for the woman. It made me sad. This book will make you cry if you have a heart. Sad.... ps I love lowdown....
animalsandmagic More than 1 year ago
I really love this book. It is basically the story of a dog, that like many dogs, get dumped by their owner. He finds a group of other stray/feral dogs and becomes a member of their pack. It is a good story for fans of warriors who also like dogs, or those who just like dogs in general. I believe it is a good story for any age to read.(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great :D ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's dog-tastic
Geena Gasparelli More than 1 year ago
this book is centered around a little white dog who was abandond in central park. he was throawn a ball and left. he ran around untill a large dog who we later learn is Tazzar. he is brought back to an old tunnel to meet the rest of the strays. he must be taught the dangers,pleaasures and sacrifies needed to survive. This book is impossible to put down. each page leaves you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Great for any dog lover. Very sad at some points, but all very realistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love waggit and tazar and lowdown and lady alica and lady magic. By the way im a upright not a scurie. But realy a graet book tell all your friends and family and check out waggit again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think he should hve stayed with the team
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At school pter howe brought his dog into school and it was so cool. His dog looked just like waggit. He talked a lot about his work and his dogs. He told us the story on how he got his dog. He was in the park one day and there was a stray dog there and his friend said that they should bring him home for the night and try to find a home for her. Well peter fell in love with th dog a kept her. He said she was the sweetest dog in the world. Cool
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its so amazing!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book if u like stories about dogs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter who just turned 9 absolutely loves this series! She reads the books over and over! I recommend this book to any child who loves dogs and excitement.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Martin More than 1 year ago
I love this book about waggits life as a dogs view of the world it is amazing i almost cried when waggit was abandoned by his owner i think it is a great book for ages 10 and up and it is just awesome the athor wrote it buetifuly
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MightyB More than 1 year ago
When I first started ready this I was a little bored with it. In chapter 3 I couldn't put it down! Waggit's Tale is about a dog(looks like a white german shepherd) who was abandoned. He was just dropped off at a city park. He is found by a nice team of dogs who love him, care for him, and protect him. They life like a family which makes it a good influence. During the winter is hard, sickness, no warmth, and very little food. One day waggit is captured and taken to a pound. He later is adopted my a women. I read the beginning of the next book and I can't wait to read it! I hope this book makes your tail wag!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Huskies4Lifes More than 1 year ago
"Waggit's Tale" is the story of one young abandon dog's journey as he struggles to survive with the help of the Tazarians, a team of free dogs living New York's Central Park. Join the team for a dog's-eye-view of life and friendship as they learn to not only survive, but LIVE. Through the challenges of avoiding Uprights (human beings), fighting of rival teams, and gathering food, Waggit and the team forage a close bond in this artful tale. This is by far one of the most exciting books I have read, with illustrations heading every chapter and well-developed characters. The setting is excellent, as is the plot, which consists of many exciting twists and turns. I would highly recommend this book, "Waggit's Tale" to any young reader looking for a fun, well-told story, especially those who enjoy reading about animals. Howe has done it: created a masterful piece that is sure to be a favorite!