This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Kathryn Kazoleas.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Written by Kathryn Kazoleas
Ages 6+ | 116 Pages
Publisher: Kathryn Kazoleas | ISBN-13: 9781777426118
Publisher’s Book Summary: Gibson the Labradoodle is about to begin her first day of training to become a dog park ambassador, something she has been dreaming about her entire life. Dog park ambassadors hold a very high honor within the dog park community and have many important roles to make sure the dog park is a fun and safe place to be. She has so many great ideas and cannot wait to get started.
While Gibson is training alongside lead ambassador and trainer, Meistro the bulldog, things don’t go as planned. Gibson meets challenge after challenge and isn’t allowed to introduce any of her new ideas. Being a dog park ambassador isn’t what she thought it would be, so she starts to question whether the role is really for her. At the end of her very first training shift, and just as she’s about to give up and tell Meistro she isn’t cut out to be a dog park ambassador after all, there’s an emergency at the river. One of the dog park’s new puppies, Clover, has swum too far out and cannot get back to shore.
Gibson’s best friend and greatest supporter, Stretch the dachshund, convinces her she must help. Gibson springs into action, with Stretch at her side and encouraging her the entire time. Gibson saves the day…almost! Having been swept downstream and far away from the dog park, Gibson is forced to lead the trio back to safety. There’s only one way back through a dark forest with strange sounds and smells. The sun is starting to go down and everybody is tired and scared. But Gibson knows she has to get her friends back home, despite what or who gets in her way.
Dog Park Guest Post: Writing About Characters Who Save the Day
Every adventure book needs a character who, in some form, saves the day. In the chapter book Dog Park, that character has four legs, floppy ears, and just happens to be a labradoodle. When we first meet Gibson, the labradoodle, she sets out to become a dog park ambassador. Dog park ambassadors help keep the dog park fun and safe for humans and dogs alike. So, while she has a spirit of leadership and the desire to do good in her community, did she set out to save the day? Nope. Did she end up saving the day? Absolutely! If you want to know how…you have to read the book!
Writing about characters who save the day can be tricky, especially when it’s from the perspective of a dog. While I tried asking my labradoodle what she would do if she were in Gibson’s situation, I didn’t get a straight answer from her, so I had to use my imagination. I didn’t want Gibson’s story to simply be about coming to the rescue. And, given the target age of Dog Park (ages 7-11), I wanted to develop a character who could lead young readers by example in overcoming self-doubt to go on and do extraordinary things. Some considerations I made when developing Gibson’s character were the obstacles she’d have to overcome, her fears, motivations, and aspirations. And what hero doesn’t have a sidekick? I think it’s important to recognize that great work often happens in teams, and we see that in Dog Park through the consistent motivation from her best friend, Stretch.
Ultimately, even characters saving the day still have challenges to overcome. While the adventure is in the rescue, the true story comes from the inner growth that we see develop as a result of the experience. It is exciting as a writer to see how Gibson has grown as a labradoodle in Dog Park and to envision how her newfound confidence will lead her on even more adventures!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryn Kazoleas is a Canadian author. Her furry roommates and copy-editors Keeva the cat, as well as Koa and Freddy the labradoodles, inspire her stories every day. The way they see and experience the world inspires her to dream up and express what she can only describe as fun, chaotic, and innocent adventures. Kathryn has been writing for many, many years, with her most recent work being the middle-grade chapter books “Dog Park” and its sequel “Dog Daycare”. Her short story “Just Be There” can also be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog”.
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Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Dog Park and its sequel Dog Daycare!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
A signed copy of Dog Park
A signed copy of Dog Daycare
Two (2) winners receive:
A signed copy of Dog Park