July 8, 2016

Fiction Friday: Chapter 5

Happy Fiction Friday folks!



This summer, I've been making my way through the 2016-2017 Texas Bluebonnet Nominee list and I'm excited to report that I only have 2 books left! This year's list is chock-full of great reads I can't wait to tell you more about. I honestly recommend them all.  For a complete list of the this years nominees, click here.

Today, I am going to focus on two books with dogs, because who doesn't love a good dog story?!  And, I'm happy to divulge that neither of the dogs in these books die.  There are no Stone Fox, Where the Red Fern Grows, or Marley & Me endings here. All happy which makes me happy. :)

Woof: A Bowser and Birdie Novel

by Spencer Quinn

Woof is a mystery told from the perspective of a good ol' dog Bowser. Unlike most canine narrators that speak fluent human, this narrator feels 100% like a dog. He is food driven, distracted by any sound or smell, and completely obsessed with his owner. I loved it! It took me a bit to get used to the story coming in through the lens of a pup, but pretty soon it was the most defining and lovable characteristic of the story.

Bowser lived a rough city life with all sorts of street hooligans, until the fateful day when the dog catcher picks up him and hauls him off to the pound. Set in the Louisiana bayou, Bowser hits the lottery when Birdie picks him as her belated birthday present from her Grandmother and brings him home. He and Birdie soon find themselves mixed up in a mystery of a stolen Marlin and a hidden treasure from long ago. Bowser, with his incredible since of smell, is an excellent detective.  He and  Birdie set out to find answers and make sure "there are no loose ends." In an adventure that includes breaking and entering, a near kidnapping, bayou alligators, and a mystery that goes back generations, you will be rooting for Birdie and Bowser all the way! 

This was an entertaining, funny, and engaging read the whole way through! The chapters left off with great cliffhangers.  I devoured the first hundred pages in one day and couldn't wait to read more.  I think kids are going to LOVE Bowser and Birdie. They are the kind of characters who become your literary friends. It's a great read for animal lovers, mystery lovers, and those ready for a fast-paced fun adventure. Looking forward to the sequel: Arf!

Book Information:
  • Mystery
  • Grades 4-6
  • 306 pages
  • Lexile Level 650L
  • Guided Reading Level U

A Handful of Stars

by Cynthia Lord

The story opens with Lily's blind dog, Lucky, making a break for it across the wide open blueberry fields of eastern Maine. He is caught by none other than Salma Santiago, the daughter of a migrant worker in town for the blueberry harvest.  As fate would have it, Salma is just the friend Lily needs and vice versa. 

Soon, they are making blueberry enchiladas and painting bee houses together to raise enough money for Lucky's expensive cataract surgery. Lily is a reserved color-in-the-lines kind of girl, while Salma is a scribble-all-over- the page kind of girl.  They are completely different but alike in all the ways that matter.  When Salma decides to run for Blueberry Queen at the upcoming Blueberry Festival, Lily is not sure how the town will handle things. After all, Salma is the first migrant worker to participate in the small town contest.  However, with Salma's whimsical artistic talents, heartwarming honesty, and Lily's help she may just win the Blueberry Queen Pageant and show this small town exactly what it looks like to be brave. Together, these girls go on a summer adventure that will teach them what's important to hold on to and what's important enough to let go.

I loved this book! It honestly took me forever to write a quick blurb because there was so much depth and complexity between these pages. A Handful of Stars is more than a book about a dog and a friendship.  It is a novel about overcoming cultural biases and personal obstacles, finding your inner strength, accepting change, celebrating differences and finding the courage to stand out from the crowd. Filled with quotes that resonate with readers of all ages, I couldn't put this book down. And the ending was perfect

One of the marks of a truly incredible novel is that you will never look at the something the same way again. The story has connected with you and changed you.  That is the true power of fiction. Blueberries will never be the same after reading this book. From the amazing blueberry facts woven throughout the text, to the symbolism of blueberries, stars, and friendship...blueberries are different now. They are more important. Great read!

I'm looking forward to recommending this book it to my 4th graders, especially students who enjoyed How to Steal A Dog or A Crooked Kind of Perfect. It's not nearly as heavy as Rules (another fabulous Cynthia Lord novel) but still sooo good.

Book Information:
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Grades 3-7
  • 192 pages
  • Lexile Measure 690L
  • Guided Reading Level S
These two books were so very different and so wonderful and special in their own way.   I'm so glad they made the Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee list this year. Well done, Bluebonnet Committee, well done.

As always, thank you for joining me for Fiction Friday.  

Please share your thoughts on these books and recommendations below. 

Have a blog?  Link up and share a few of your favorites.  



When linking up, please remember to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to my blog. Also, please choose an image of a book you blogged about for the link.

For more great books, please visit the Fiction Friday Archive or click through this summer's Fiction Friday Link Up below.

Happy Reading! 


  1. You're right Amanda- who doesn't love dogs. Both books sound amazing. I love how Woof is told from the point of view of the dog. So clever! I am currently reading Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Once I finish I will share my thoughts.

  2. A Handful of Stars is another great story by Ms. Lord that captures the concerns and actions of young people, all while giving us a view into the world of the immigrant farm worker. She cleverly weaves the threads of the story into a satisfying resolution.

    Look at this Iron Cookware


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!