Published by: Holiday House; Reprint edition (March 1, 2009)
Available in: paperback, hardcover
That’s what Fran, the main character, and her dog, Hercules, try to learn in this book. Fran is an annoying bossy pants, and Hercules just can’t seem to mind the rules… or the fence around the yard.
The neat thing this little chapter book does is show that both human and animal behavior—whether for little girls or puppies—is very similar. And no matter how bad a day one has, better times can be had if we learn from our mistakes. A little good training helps, too. That goes for both dogs and minds.
I won’t say the action in this otherwise decent book is stupendous, but I do think it’s one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in a chapter book. Fran finds her favorite kind of road kill (“No blood. No guts. Nothing gooshy.”), picks it up and teases another girl with it. Okay, that’s original.
If kids love to read about animals, this author also has a few other animal-centered chapter books out, including The Secret Chicken Society and Butterfly Buddies.
Björkman’s loose and easy drawings compliment the tone of the text. As both Fran and Hercules struggle to be responsible and contained, the illustrations keep the tone fun and free. And if the text gets slightly preachy, the drawings seem to fly with joy. Neat trick.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….