________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003


Hubcaps and Puppies.

Rosemary Nelson.
Toronto, ON: Napoleon, 2002.
172 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 0-929141-98-9.

Subject Heading:
Endangered species-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Meredith MacKeen.

*** /4


It was a few days later when we discovered the robin's nest was empty. I couldn't believe how quickly they had grown up and left. Unfortunately, one of them was lying dead at the base of the tree. Perhaps the other four pushed him out, or maybe he'd fallen to his death while learning to fly.

While we were digging a little hole to bury him, Alisha had noticed one of the young robins in a low bush nearby. It didn't display a lot of fear, just hopped and fluttered out of Alisha's grasp as she tried to pick it up. "I don't think you should try to catch it," Shawn said to her, frowning. "But it may be hurt, " Alisha whispered, stepping back as the little bird crouched and fluttered its wings some more. "Let's leave it for now. We'll see what Grandma thinks," I suggested. Grandma was glad we had left it along. Its behaviour indicates it was begging for food, so the parents and probably the other babies are still around. They're vulnerable when they first leave the nest and quite often they don't survive, but those that do have to learn to be on their own as soon as possible. If I were you, I would just stay away from that area for a while'" Grandma advised us.

Twelve-year-old Nikki narrates her daily life filled with school, exploring the outsides with her friend, shopping and living with parents who are both teachers. In fact, her grade 7 teacher is her strong-willed father. Life becomes more complicated with the arrival of Nikki’s long-lost eccentric grandmother. So, Nikki shares the trials of her life with her beloved dog, Wagner, and her friends. They especially enjoy exploring the countryside on horseback and soon discover that a developer is planning to fill in a pond where a mother turtle is raising her young. Nikki decides to stand up for what she really believes in and involves her parents, friends and grandmother in the process.

     She matures from a likeable girl complaining about math and fairness in a test to someone able to recognize her grandmother's greater need for a puppy that they have both been training for agility trials. This pleasant story about ordinary life will make a satisfying read for children looking for light entertainment.


Meredith MacKeen is a teacher librarian at Glen Stewart School in Stratford, P.E.I.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.