Mutt's Promise: 08/05/16
Mutt's Promise by Julie Salamon is about a stray dog, Mutt, and her puppies. Mutt is befriended by a grumpy old man who runs a small farm with help from a migrant family. Because Gilbreto is good with animals and takes responsibility for the puppies, Mutt and her four dogs are allowed to stay.
But opportunities for Gilberto's parents cause trouble for everyone. The farmer now alone decides the puppies must go. He finds two good homes but Luna and Jefe are sold to a nearby puppy mill.
This is a book written for upper elementary tweens. It is the Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows for the mid 2010s. Except it doesn't involve rabies or hunting. It does though involve animal cruelty and it's told from the dogs' point of view.
Thankfully this book has a happy ending. It's not about children learning that dogs are disposable tools or that rabies is a terrible disease. Instead it's about the things that some animals are forced to endure before finding their forever home. And it's about those animals not lucky enough to find such a home.
If you're looking to modernize your classroom library with an animal centric story, add Mutt's Promise to your collection. For your cat lover students, I also recommend Cat in the City by the same author.