Monday, June 23, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: It's NOT Just a Dog

I enjoy reading dog books, so when I heard about this one, I wanted to read it! Luckily, author Pam Torres sent me a copy to review and invited me to be part of her blog tour.

Today’s Pick:  It’s NOT Just a Dog

by Pam Torres

Legacy Media Press, 2014

From Amazon:

In the second book of the Project Madison series, things get complicated as Madison and Cooper try to navigate their new relationship. School has ended and they're spending more time together, blogging, working at the kennel, training dogs—including Lilly. When Jonah, the new neighbor who has moved into Paige's old house, begins to spend more time with Madison, Cooper isn't at all happy.

Jonah's uncle, a Native American, shares his knowledge about Madison's power to see and feel canine memories and emotions. The mysterious white wolf returns and fills her mind with dreams and more questions. Madison starts a dog-walking business and discovers Ben, a crotchety old man whose dog is skin and bones. When the kennel receives a dog that has been brutally injured, Madison is determined to find out what happened. She and Cooper realize they're going to need Jonah and Donald to bust this investigation wide open and save the dogs. But getting to the bottom of the mystery will threaten not only Madison, but everyone she loves.

My Take:

I liked the concept of a girl being able to read the emotions and memories of dogs, and how it connected to the Native American culture. This was a unique idea which I haven’t come across before in any middle grade books. There’s lots of info about dog behaviour and dog training in this story, too, which I enjoyed.

Madison expresses some of her reactions as #hashtags, and I wondered whether readers of middle grade fiction would relate (that may just be based on my personal experiences, since my own kids scorn Twitter). But Madison’s adventures and the problems she has to solve opened my eyes to some of the things that happen to animals. This book makes you think about animals and how they are treated.

Opening Line:

“On a sticky-hot Saturday, Henry, my stepdad, was driving me to the Second Chance Dog Shelter to help with a new litter of pups—this was out of the ordinary since the whole litter had been left in a bag on Netta’s doorstep.”


“I remembered what Jonah had said about the land and the animals all having spirits. He’d said animals were here to teach us, and I wanted the answers.”

[I love the idea of learning from animals! It makes me wonder what my dog has taught me!]

Other Info:

Pam Torres was born in Logan, Utah and spent most of her childhood in Prairie Village, Kansas. Besides playing Dorothy during tornado weather and digging Peter Pan-like underground forts she also played piano and ran cross-country.

Ten percent of the author’s proceeds from sales of this book go to the ASPCA®, animal shelters and other programs to benefit homeless or abused animals.

Anyone who emails (torres dot pam3 at gmail dot com) a JPG of a tween holding her book, will receive a personalized letter from Madison and signed by Lilly dog.

Check back on Thursday for an interview with author Pam Torres about her writing process!

Other books by this author:

Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog

For more, visit Project Madison on Facebook. 

Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).


  1. I also had the opportunity to read this one and agree with your reaction. The story is full of great moments and if you love dogs or not, it's a fun read.

    1. Hi Greg,
      Nice to see you on the "internets." lol Thanks Greg for your kind comments.

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

  2. I've been hearing such great things about this one! I'm especially intrigued by the tie-in with Native American culture. Thanks for featuring it!

    1. Native American culture is underrepresented in children's books, I think. It's so great that there's that tie-in.

    2. Thanks for stopping by Jenni. I really loved the research I did for the Native American culture.

  3. Thanks so much Andrea! Sorry it took me all day to get to your blog. I've been working with my copy-editor on the second edition of the first book, hopefully releasing around it's book birthday. Whew!

    I think the knowledge about hashtags depends. The tweens around here speak in hashtags. For example: "You should have seen me fall over the curb, yesterday. Hashtag, clutz." Maybe it's because we live in Microsoft, Google and Nintendo country. Seattle is pretty forward when it comes to social media. Thanks for the nice review.

    1. So interesting about possible regional use of #hashtags by kids!

      It sounds like you're working hard...#writerslife

  4. I am looking forward this summer to re-reading the first and then reading the second. Accompanying me will be my own two dogs--well, they will basically sleep whilst I read. Thanks for the feature!

    1. HI Deb,
      I thought I replied to this. I'm so glad you're going to re-read the first. I'm actually re-releasing it later in the summer, hopefully closet to it's book birthday!

  5. Thanks for sharing! It's nice to see the books of an MMGM regular out in the world!


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