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The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes Hardcover – March 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Charlotte’s father loves a bargain. But his enthusiasms pass quickly, and 11-year-old Charlotte is the only one who remembers to give the St. Bernard he bought food, water, and a belly rub. Charlotte is not a dog person. Beauregard deserves a better home, with a family who loves him and doesn’t leave him outside. Determined to find him one, she works to buy the dog from her father to give to a rescue organization, earning money by helping an elderly neighbor. This gentle, appealing story covers the better part of a school year in which Charlotte not only becomes a dog person but also discovers that people who seem scary at first—Luanne, the silent new girl at school; the 84-year-old Petunia Parker—can become friends. The gradual change in her family, as her baby brother grows and her mother recovers from postpartum depression, is believable, and the small-town West Virginia setting forms a convincing backdrop. Even for certified non–dog lovers, the familiar family and friendship issues and satisfying resolution make this an agreeable read. Grades 4-7. --Kathleen Isaacs


“[Kennedy’s] first-person, present-tense voice captures perfectly the emerging moral awareness of young teens as it comes up against the impotence of late childhood. Another fine effort.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A sweet, gentle story.” (School Library Journal)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1 edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061452416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452413
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Lee on May 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a mother who screens everything her 13-year-old reads, I was hesitant to pass this book on because we had just lost all three of our dogs after 18 years (yes, we had our dogs before we had our daughter!) - but my fears were unfounded: this was a truly sweet book for dog lovers, non-dog-lovers - and anyone who may have felt even slightly threatened by the affections a dog lover has for their dog. I particularly liked the underlying theme of the story: you don't have to like something or someone to do right by them. This is a positive message that can often be lost nowadays, when there is so much emphasis on what is legal - so we do only that which we are required to do, not what is the decent thing to do. So, even though I wasn't really fond of Charlotte as a character (I'm a dog person, so I cannot understand how anyone is not one!), I admire her for the way she tried to do the right thing, not just the legal requirement. There are lessons in the book that can be extended far into everyday living, and I was very happy to see that said daughter was not too "grown-up" to enjoy this quick read. Her review follows:

"The book, `The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes' by Marlane Kennedy was a great, heart-warming book.

"Charlotte is not a dog person. She doesn't wish them off the earth or anything - she just doesn't go gaga over every Labrador and poodle on the street. So how did she get stuck taking care of the family pet? Poor Beauregard is left chained outside all day with no one to play with - and he deserves better. That's when Charlotte gets a plan - well, several. But how do you save your own dog? A memorable story about a girl who will do anything to help her dog.

"My favorite character was, or course, Beauregard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a dog story with a real twist: the narrator, 11-year-old Charlotte Hayes, tells us right up front that she is not a dog person. She doesn't hate them or fear them; she just doesn't go all gooey when she sees a puppy. Yet she ends up taking total care of the Saint Bernard her dad bought as a bargain. He brought the dog home, named him Killer, and then pretty much forgot about him.

Charlotte has renamed the dog Beauregard. She's the one who makes sure he has water, feeds him, and scratches his tummy. She talks to him, confiding that it's not fair he has such a boring life, chained next to a doghouse that's too small for him. It's also not fair to Charlotte, she figures, because she shouldn't have to take care of a dog at all.

But Beauregard is not Charlotte's only problem. As the story begins, her mom is suffering a terrible case of the blues. Charlotte's big sister overhears her dad telling someone that his wife has postpartum depression. Mama used to be a happy person who ran in the morning. But nine-month-old Justin Lee is still waking her up at night. Thus she is worn out and constantly cranky.

When Charlotte pleads for Beauregard to be allowed inside, Mama won't hear of it. After all, like all Saint Bernards, he drools. Daddy won't listen to Charlotte's pointed remarks about poor Beauregard's dreary life, refusing to even consider giving the dog away. He seems content to just own the dog, even though he no longer interacts with him. Charlotte can't bear it. She must figure out some way for both her and Beauregard to have a happy ending to their shared sad tale.

Grace Walters is the new girl in Charlotte's class. Beautiful and rich, she lives in a new mansion in town.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jordan K. Henrichs on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I was a boy, I was not a pet person, let alone a dog person. But it wasn't necessarily by choice. My parents were not pet people therefore, my sister and I grew up pet-less. After we went off to college my younger brother rescued a kitten from the tennis courts in town (high schoolers had been pelting it with tennis balls) and my parents allowed him to keep it. Figures! We leave and now the family takes in a pet! Since then, my sister and I have both taken in cats. It's funny how they can become such an important part of your family. In the past, a book like THE DOG DAYS OF CHARLOTTE HAYES would not have gotten much of a reaction out of me. But anymore, I have to turn the television channel when those sad abandoned pet commercials come on!

Charlotte Hayes is not a dog person. But somebody has to take care of Beauregard (the Saint Bernard her father bought because he just can't say "no" to a great deal). Since no one else in the family is jumping at the responsibility, Charlotte feels compelled to fill his water bowl daily, feed him, and rub his belly. But she doesn't like it. And Beauregard deserves a better life. A life he doesn't have to spend chained up in the backyard, rain or shine. He deserves a family that will love him and give him attention. A family with a yellow kitchen and a soft plaid dog bed, just like in Charlotte's dream. When her dad refuses to let Beauregard go (possibly to a family that will appreciate him), Charlotte takes it upon herself to make her dream a reality.

It'd be easy to describe this book as a "dog story" about a girl that doesn't like dogs. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what author Marlane Kennedy had in mind when pitching this idea.
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