Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book talk: Bulu: African Wonder Dog (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

You think your dog is cool? Ha! He cannot possibly be cooler than Bulu, African wonder dog [show cover or other pictures in the book of Bulu]. This is the story of a real-life dog, a Jack Russell terrier mix, who lived on wildlife education center located in a remote part of Zambia, a country in Africa. I’m going to quiz you on Bulu’s life. Do your best to guess the right answer.

Question 1. Bulu warned his unsuspecting owners about the presence of
a). a deadly snake
b). a crocodile
c). an elephant
d). all of the above

If you guessed “e,” all of the above, you’re right. Bulu had a sixth sense for when other wild animals – harmful or not – were around, and he always did his best to warn his owners.

Question 2. Bulu was super nice to which animals who lived with him in his owners’ small house?
a). two baby warthogs
b). a baby bushbuck (a type of antelope)
c). baby monkeys
d). all of the above

You guessed “all of the above” again? You’re right! Bulu’s owners were setting up a wildlife education center, and they wanted to help rehabilitate injured or parentless animals, too. Bulu accepted these animal orphans as friends and would even cuddle with them.

Question 3. All dogs love treats. Which treat was Bulu’s favorite?
a). vanilla cookies from Starbucks
b). French fries from McDonalds
c). buttered bread
d). worms

You think they have a Starbucks or a McDonalds in the wilds of Zambia? There isn’t a market for miles and miles! This is the wilderness! Bulu liked buttered bread.

Last question. If you’re a dog, like Bulu, and you get attacked by a lion, what are your chances of survival?
a). slim to none
b). survive a lion attack? Hahahahahahhahhahahaah….
c). I don’t even want to think about it.

Does this one sound like a trick question? Not a trick, it’s a “teaser.” To find, read Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book talk: Heart of a Samurai (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

Do you remember the story of Odysseus? He was away from his home for a very, very long time, but he never forgot his homeland, and he always longed to return.

Manjiro was a 14-year-old Japanese boy on a fishing expedition when he and his shipmates got lost and landed on a tiny island populated only by birds. When the birds left the island, Manjiro and his mates started to starve to death, but luckily they were rescued, by men with blue eyes who did not understand a single word they said. These men spoke English and were whale-hunters. Manjiro now found himself on a different type of boat, with very different mates, whale-hunting. Manjiro ends up in America.

So why can’t Manjiro just go home? It’s not that easy to do in 1841. After all, he’s lucky to alive at all. Being a foreigner in America at this time is not easy. He’s mocked for the way he looks and the way he talks. But he’s fond of the man who adopted him and treated him kindly. He’s there for many years before he’s given the chance to go home again. Can he even still speak Japanese? Will anyone recognize him? Will his family remember him? The Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus.

The Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus.  Amulet Books, 2010. 301 pages. Virginia Readers' Choice for middle school, 2012-2013.