Book Review of Stella. Fiction, target audience: middle grade.
This is the story of a bomb-sniffing beagle whose handler is killed in an explosion. She is so traumatized that she is on the verge of being euthanized when a compassionate trainer, Esperanza and her daughter Chloe give Stella another chance.
As always when you rescue a dog, they rescue you right back. Their love and patience give the traumatized dog time and space to heal. She returns their love with intense loyalty and something more. Her sensitive nose warns them when Chloe is in trouble, forging a lifelong bond and a new purpose in life for Stella.
You might choose this as a gift for the young people in your life.
If you’re like me, you might find it the perfect read for a dreary afternoon, bringing hope and inspiration to your world.
If you are really lucky, you will enjoy reading and discussing it with the young readers in your life.
1. The story is told by Stella the beagle. As you might guess from the website, I love that perspective. I love being inside the mind of another creature, able to see the world through their eyes. I like imagining how dogs think.
2. I want to learn about the beagle half of Sandy’s pedigree. I’ve never had a beagle or any sort of scent hound before, so I crave information on what her world is like. This book delivered that.
3. Esperanza is a dog trainer who uses compassionate training and lots of patience to rehabilitate Stella. Stella has to find a way to communicate with Esperanza and Chloe so they understand how she can be of service to them. It is heartwarming to see training as a cooperative effort instead of punishment/reward.
4. The book is about second chances and recovering from trauma. We all deserve a second chance, but it is not enough to get that chance. We have to make something of it. Stella does exactly that. She is afraid but works hard to be brave. She is misunderstood but doesn’t give up. Her persistence pays off.
5. I read this book during pandemic lockdown. As a kid, my favorite books were about animals, especially dogs triumphing against big odds. All of the reasons above and the fact that it only took an afternoon to read it made this the perfect pandemic comfort read.
I hope you enjoy it too.
Check the author's website for more on this and her other books.
© Copyright Suzanne Grosser