The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This heartwarming story is not an ordinary book. It is told through the eyes of a dog, Enzo! The book actually begins at the end of the book, or more specifically: the end of Enzo’s life (cue the tears). Enzo knows his time is up, but his owner Denny does not.

Then, the book goes back to the beginning, when Denny first adopts Enzo from a farm. Denny at that point is a bachelor, a professional race car driver. Enzo during his first year with Denny learns a lot about cars and car racing. About a year or two later, Enzo becomes a big brother and protector to Zoë, Denny and Eve’s daughter. Everything seems to be going well until it doesn’t.

*Warning: Spoilers ahead

Enzo silently watches as Eve suffers from constant headaches making her unpleasant to be around. He can sense the illness inside Eve but cannot say anything to warn the family. Eve fights a tough battle, but unfortunately, it is not a fight that she wins.

Denny, fresh-faced with his wife’s passing, is now faced with a custody battle with Eve’s parents who deems Denny as unsuitable for Denny to raise Zoë. He ends up selling his house and giving up racing temporarily in order to do anything they can to take back custody of his daughter.

The rest of the book consists of arduous trials consisting of an accused assault (that was not true), difficulty in getting back Zoë; things just are not going well for Denny. Luckily there is a turn around for Denny at the end; he gets back custody of his daughter, the assault charges are dropped, and gets an amazing offer of a new job as a car test and track instructor in Italy. Eventually, Enzo’s race is reaching an end, and Denny realizes this so he lets Enzo run to a field, where Enzo can run faster and never stop.

I definitely recommend this book but it is a tear-jerker (fair warning)

-Phoebe L.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Captain’s Dog by Roland Smith

Image result for the captain's dog cover imageIf you’re looking for a heartfelt tail of bravery and affection, The Captain’s Dog is the book for you. The many chapters are told from the perspective of Captain Meriwether Lewis’ dog, Seaman. Because of this, you’ll hear about antics that will make you smile, adventures that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and tales that will bring you back in time.

The plot almost exactly follows the events of the expedition, giving you historical content as well. The author describes events and adventures in depth, making you feel like you’re there with the expedition crew. From deserting members to a deadly mountain crossing, no detail is left out.

As you read through the book, you learn of Seaman’s abused puppyhood and the savior he found in Captain Lewis. Seaman proves to be a valuable asset to the team, warning of bears and cheering up saddened trekkers.

All in all, I loved the whole book, down to the last word of the epilogue. I hope I’ve interested you in this work of art. Even cat people will fall in love with the charming and lovable Seaman. I hope you will find time to read this great book.

-Joshua M. 6th Grade

The Captain’s Dog by Roland Smith is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

A Dog’s Purpose

Are you a dog lover who believes in destiny? If so, this should a fantastic book for you. Bailey was an ordinary pup that had so many lives that he(she) doesn’t even remember anymore.

But the most remarkable life that imprinted itself on Bailey’s heart was probably when he was a golden retriever that the color gold of his fur enlightened his owner Ethan. The profundity of their friendship is not there to be described by words. But when Bailey passed away after Ethan went to college, the subtle bond still remains unbreakable and the immortality of it freshens Ethan’s entire life from that on.

But Bailey’s reincarnation is never-ending, he continues to walk on his abysmal lives. There are horrible owners that exhibited their insanity throughout the story that you might want to screw them up. And there are also owners that their effusive magnanimity melted your heart in an instant. Though we all know that the final home that Bailey should belong is the genial room of Ethan. The answer whether Bailey will be hugged by Ethan again and play his favorite baseball is waiting for the readers to find out with tears in their limpid eyes maybe.

-April L.

A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: A Dog’s Purpose

When I heard out that this book had been made into a movie, I knew I had to read it. So there I was, checking the book out of the library and I was completely hooked the second I started. I have always loved dogs and the way the author, W. Bruce Cameron, wrote this story is just fabulous. I have no idea how he could write this heart-warming tale from a dog’s point of view so well and accurately! It amazes me, and sometimes I wonder that maybe he is part dog!

“All dogs go to heaven, unless they have unfinished business here on Earth.”

The main character is a dog that has been reincarnated four times! The dog comes back each time because he is trying to fulfill his purpose. Basically, he is seeking “a dog’s purpose in life” in his different reincarnations.

In the dog’s first life, he is born as a stray mutt named Toby. His mother has warned him to beware strangers, that man is not to be trusted. However, after getting severely bitten by a malicious dog, Toby lives a tragically short life. But the story doesn’t end there. In his second reincarnation, he is a Golden Retriever named Bailey, a purebred retriever. He is sold, and finds a loving home with a boy named Ethan and his parents. Bailey loves his boy Ethan, and they spend almost every moment together, their bond inseparable. They also love to play the game Rescue Me, where Bailey jumps into the lake to save Ethan.

In his third life…he’s a girl. He’s a German Shepherd named Ellie, ready to save and to Find people and rescue them. She realizes that this is similar to rescuing Ethan, and does her job and saves many lives until her own ebbs away. And in his final life, he’s a male again, this time a black Lab named Buddy. Ethan is now an old man, and Buddy is determined to be with his boy once more. He treks a long way, and he finally finds Ethan in the town that he once knew, and he realizes nothing changed much. Buddy also finds an emptiness inside of Ethan, and decides to bring him his old girlfriend, Hannah, hoping that will fill up the void of emptiness. The two get married, and Buddy realizes that he has truly fulfilled a dog’s purpose.