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Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—Well-documented cases of animals rescuing men, women, and children are recounted with precision, organized into four divisions: domestic, trained, wild, and legendary animals. Campbell draws on opinions from professionals and anecdotal evidence, gleaned from ancient to modern times, to understand animal motivations. In an introduction, Campbell discusses whether we can ever know an animal's motivation and how to verify the accuracy of these accounts. The author's voice is strongly felt throughout, tinged with sarcasm, pathos, and a touch of belief mixed with skeptcism as to the existence of moral courage in these animals. Simple black-and-white illustrations serve as story markers. The text flows well, and the compact content is intense. Tender souls will weep over the family dog who was fatally injured saving his owner from a cougar, leaving his skull cracked and his body macerated. When the jaws of the cougar were prised from the head of the brave dog, he arose for the last time to make sure his beloved boy was safe. Similarly, Campbell describes a guide dog who led his master out of the Twin Towers, through the soot and cinders, later dying due to respiratory injuries, and a pride of lions that rescued a kidnapped 12-year-old Ethiopian girl from rape and abuse. The graphic nature of some of these stories make them more suitable for older readers, who may more easily process the plethora of serious issues. The documentation shines in this presentation.—Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
Awards & Nominations:
"Are animals compassionate? Campbell finds fifty reasons to believe they are. . . . He details fifty accounts of animals risking their lives for humans and presents scientific findings that show animals are capable of kindness. . . . Wild animal rescues are the most astonishing stories. . . . Campbell's compelling examples and engaging storytelling style make strong cases for animal altruism, and they encourage further examination of everyday human-animal encounters. -Foreword Reviews, five-star review
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I was surprised to find that the stories were narrated like a report. I was expecting a little more narration. It does make sense though given that there are over fifty stories covered in this book. I like how the report style of narration helps to keep the author's bias and imagination from infiltrating the stories while leaving room readers to ask questions. If Campbell had taken liberties with embellishing the stories, it would be difficult to tell fact from fiction. The lack of embellishment doesn't take away from the emotions of the stories. In fact, many of them brought me to the verge of tears.
I like the layout of the stories. The opening page provides the story title and a cute drawing of the animal hero. Beneath the picture, the following information is provided: the animal's name, species, the date and location of the heroic event, the situation, who was saved (name and age), and the fame meter (how famous the animal became). In the story itself, bold heading divide the story into segments for clear reading. As I mentioned earlier, the stories are really like reports, and Campbell often provides backstory, other angles, and epilogues to the heroic tales. At the end of some of the stories, Campbell provides abbreviated accounts of similar incidents that have taken place; he does this in bullet points at the end of the "report."
It is clear that Campbell put much time and effort into the research for his book. Campbell compares tales of animal heroes and asks important questions about the validity of such tales. He also provides supplementary information on related topics to enrich the reading experience. For example, he provides a segment on mirror neurons as a possible reason for some accounts of animal heroics; another segment provides accounts of life-saving animals in pop culture. He also references some other books in his discussions of the heroic tales. I looked some of them up and plan to check them out in the future.
Though I would have liked to see more time spent on each individual story, the broad range of stories covered in this book make it a worthwhile purchase. I recommend this book to readers who love animals and reading about true tales of animal heroism.