Birdie Gaux and her faithful canine sidekick, Bowser, are back in another mystery. In this sequel to WOOF, Birdie and Bowser find themselves unexpectedly in the middle of a cold case, the murder of Birdie’s police detective dad. Suspicious happenings and characters give Birdie pause – two house burglaries on the same day, the arrival of a young woman with green hair and a man that is a little too interested in the Gaux home. The novel is written from the dog’s point of view – and Bowser is quite hilarious. But the humor does not throw the reader off the scent nor does it distract the reader from the serious events. Bowser proves himself a hero – and Birdie proves herself a fine detective. This dialogue driven novel will entertain mystery lovers and dog lovers alike. The narration by Jim Frangione is perfect.
Here’s hoping for installment #3 in this mystery series.
Spencer Quinn is the author of the bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery books for adults.
Pick the audio book up at the Portland Public Library.
by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Published by Knopf
All of the children in the Ellis family (Elaine, Edith, Emily, Elmer and Ernie) are excellent at something – but the family dog, Ed is desperate to find what he excels at. Ed wants to be allowed to do everything that the children do – eat at the table, ride in the van, sit on the couch and use the indoor bathroom. While the children all excel at things like ballet, cooking, soccer and math – Ed just can’t find his place. He attempts to excel at less than excellent behaviors like breaking things, forgetting and losing things. The poor dog begins to believe that he isn’t good enough for the Ellis family. But the family loves their dog and they see what he is good at. They remind him that he is excellent at cleaning the floor of crumbs, welcoming the family back home with tail wags and kisses and keeping feet warm. The illustrations perfectly depict a warm and loving family. The illustrations are mixed media with a lot of warm yellows. Ed is shown with his tail in constant motion.
Ed shows us that everyone can be excellent at something! This book will be loved by dog lovers everywhere.
It’s women’s history month, and our featured film has lots of women and quite a bit of history–the well-researched and visually gorgeous Daughters of the Dust by writer/director Julie Dash.
Set in 1902 on St. Helena Island off the coast of South Carolina, the story is ostensibly about a family reunion that takes place just before a faction of the family moves North, but as the late great, Roger Ebert observed, in a review dated 25 years ago today, “…there is the sense that all of them are going…and all of them are staying behind, because the family is…a single entity.” Indeed, the ancestors are present at the picnic, as well as children yet to be born.
The Peazant family is descended from the Ibo people of West Africa, and like others on the Sea Islands, their isolation has allowed them to maintain many of their traditions and rituals. They speak Gullah, which is mostly English in vocabulary but West African in its cadences and intonations. Nana Peazant, the matriarch, fears that the language, the traditions, the family history will be lost when the family assimilates into mainland culture.
It is rare to find a film set in these islands, focused on these people. In addition, Dash has researched and recreated authentic period hairstyles and exquisitely detailed costumes, and used the device of a visiting photographer to create beautiful tableaux. Check out Daughters of the Dust, and enjoy a unique cinematic experience.