Sunday, December 6, 2015

Terrific new book about an animal rescue by Ellen Emerson White

It is not often I review books, but then it is not often I read a novel about a rescue dog. 

Webster, Tale of an Outlaw” is a new book by popular “Young Adult” (YA) writer, Ellen Emerson White. (YA books are not just for kids; two popular YA series are Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.)

The book opens with Webster, a Lab mix, being left at a rescue by his adoptive family. That is a good thing, even if Webster can’t accept it. He has landed in a tub of butter. As soon as he figures out he is in a shelter, he decides to break out, despite the fleecy dog bed, homemade biscuits, and kind attention from the rescuers.

One of the fun things about this book is the story is told from Webster’s perspective. The rescuers, as in real life, are in the background working away for him and he rarely notices them, or if he does, he can’t figure them out. Webster, unused to kindness, is suspicious of everyone.

The other dogs hold lively conversations with him (this is a novel) telling him adoption is good and he needs to stay at the rescue. Webster is having none of it, a self-styled “bad hat,” he wants to be “the dog who walks by himself.” He leaves his safe haven to find adventures and the life of a loner. But life on the run has a set of problems too. How can you get dinner if you don’t have a bowl?

This is a humorous look at life from the perspective of a dog who has given up on people, but that is as dark as the story gets. No animals die in this book and although Webster had a family who mistreated him, he lands in the good hands of many who care.

Here he gets caught up in a game of fetch:

“The Bad Hat wasn’t about to interact with any more people, but he loved to play with balls.

Webster is very entertaining and not predictable. I am not giving away anything to say he becomes an Internet darling. In fact, he has his own FaceBook page which shows some of the real animals who inspired the writer.