Monday, December 3, 2018

MISSING MIKE by Shari Green

A lovely and emotional story about a missing dog, told in verse.

Description from the publisher:

He’s a rescue, a mutt. Maybe there’s a little golden retriever in him, although he’s not exactly pretty. He’s had a run-in with coyotes and he’s missing an eye. But Mike is eleven-year-old Cara Donovan’s dog, and they love each other absolutely. Usually her pet follows Cara everywhere, but on the day the family first smells smoke in the air, Mike becomes anxious. Pine Grove is in the path of a wildfire, and the family is ordered to evacuate. In the ensuing chaos, Mike runs off. And then the unthinkable happens; there is no time to search for Mike. They are forced to leave him behind.

Shocked and devastated, Cara watches helplessly as the family drives through a nightmare, with burning debris falling from the sky and wild animals fleeing for their lives. Once in the city far from the burn zone, the Donovans are housed with a volunteer host family. Jewel, the hosts’ daughter, is nice, but Cara can only think about what she may have lost. What will happen if nothing is left? But as she reflects on what “home” means to her, Cara knows only one thing. She is not going to lose Mike. She will do what it takes to find him, even if it means going back to Pine Grove on her own.

Missing Mike, written by Shari Green, was published by Pajama Press in 2018.

Why you want to read this book…
It’s so filled with emotion! I worried right along with Cara about her beloved dog, and I felt compassion for anyone who has experienced loss or fear that comes from a fire. I read this one quickly because I was so eager to find out what happened and whether Cara would find her dog.

Ten minutes.
Ten minutes to pack up and leave our home.


It hasn’t rained for thirty-seven days.
The air crackles in the heat
gold grass crunches
beneath my tires.

If you’re a writer… 

There’s such lovely imagery and language in this novel! I always admire this style of writing because I can imagine how challenging it is to create a complete story this way. A great example of a novel in verse that creates strong emotions for the reader.

The smoke claws its way into my lungs
and it takes all I’ve got
to yell for Mike

If you’re an educator…

Many kids have been affected by the experience of being in a fire or by forest fires so they will be able to relate to this story. I admired the determination of the main character and her drive to find her dog. While reading this aloud, there would be many opportunities for talking about loss and how to cope with it, as well as what home means to different individuals.

“Don’t look so worried,” she says.
“Music is part of me
even without instruments
and scores.

Here's the author, Shari Green, talking about how she came up with the idea for the book: 

If you’re looking for more to read, check out the list of fabulous middle grade books over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. This certainly is a timely book for readers as it makes it a little more personal for those who don't live near fire areas. Also enjoyed the video. Gave m more insight.

  2. Very timely story with all the real life fires this past year effecting millions. I'm already anxious to find out what happens to Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Agree with Patricia that this is really timely.

  4. I have lived in Northern California since I was in second grade and what the fire victims and first responders have been through here in the past few years, especially 2017 and 2018, is heart-wrenching. This sounds like a unique, tender read which I am immediately adding to my TBR list. Thank you so much for sharing it for MMGM, Andrea.

  5. I live near Sacramento and we spend quite a number of days dealing with smoke and ash from the Camp Fire. This book is so timely. Thanks for telling me about it. I will check it out.


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