Doggie Delicious: Mary Jo Wisneski Johnston
Sometimes people come into our lives for a reason and the end result will change our direction. Losing a loved one whether a parents or in this case a precious pet, it can be devastating and replacing the pet often leads to more difficulties. At times people wait a while before venturing out to find a new pet or at times they decide against it. What happens when a beautiful 15-year-old white-faced husky named Zephyrushka passes on and the owner does not want to replace her? Koko was beautiful as the author describes that dog with an amazing black mask around her eyes therefore calling her The Love Bandit. With over 20 animals on her ranch losing one was sad but she did not replace the animal with so many others to care for. But, someone and something would change that. Animals do not live forever and she realized that this one crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge but when something happens at the local bookstore you wonder if fate or there has been a divine intervention. Determined not to replace this pet someone out of the blue comes up to her and says that there is a white dog for you “ over there.” Here one minute and gone the next as she sees an ad in the newspaper for a white dog and then curiosity gets the better of her and she had to find out more.
So, making an appointment to see the five beautiful white puppies was first and imagine going through a screening and adoptive process as well in order to get one of these puppies as your own. They were not allowed to choose but were given the one that they felt would suit the new owners and they called her Bialy Habibti or Bibi for short. Here is where their lives changed and where something miraculous happens that would not only change their way of thinking and their lives but the people in their community too.
Bibi’s growth timeline was met and everyone that she encountered fell in love with her. Strangers could not resist her charge and the owner called her, her Golden Angel because of her appearance. Her ears and fur were gold-tipped. But, Bib was even more as the other animals on the farm loved her too. La Pampa del Peru the Peruvian Paso horse, Daisy Doolittle the dulcet donkey, Gremlin the Llama, Amigo the alpaca, Kochaniu, two house cats Lizzy Bet and Savannah Lexy, Ms. Peanut and many others. But, this was just the beginning as Bibi was always at her side and wanted to help as much as she could to make her life easier. She chased the squirrel, crows and giant magpies that dared to steal their walnuts. Caught the pesky rodents and she was amazing until something magical happens and changes it all. Bibi had her own way of communicating and you would almost think she was able to speak. But, something within her body changed and she developed wings. Imagine a dog with wings that could learn to fly! Just how would his help her and why was this going to be something that would make the jobs of so many easier? Bibi loved to fly, glide and lift off the ground. Freedom is amazing and following the birds and squirrels did not thrill her after a while. She wanted more. Imagine what happens when four to six vultures in their own way would weigh in on her flight lessons. All have the animals had something to contribute and Bibi especially loved chasing blackbirds, fly with the birds but was too heavy in some respects, how, find out more when you read page 13. Illustrator Malinda Raines brings the story to life with her vividly depicted and illustrated drawings of each of the important events in Bibi’s life making the story come alive even for young readers that cannot read. But, Bibi only wanted to help others and finally Freddy Friendly needed her help to catch the cows that seemed to escape whenever they got the chance. She just wanted the chance to serve and help and wait until you see just how she does it! Good deeds! A special dog that wanted to help others and her attitude was highly contagious.
Bibi was amazing and would help anywhere she could using her new skills. Wait until you read the Balloons Away incident and learn more about how Bibi’s skills were tested on pages 17-18. Trying to rid themselves of the woodpeckers from targeting their houses by putting a fake own did not seem to deter them but they eventually left and the situation was handled. But, the most exciting part is when someone decides to create a Play Day for all of the animals and they join together in this special play day on the ranch with each animal contributing in his or her special way. Learning how to work cooperatively, doing what needed to be done, not fussing, taking direction and working as a unit is something that children often need to learn and will become more familiar with as they read how each animal along with Bibi created a day that would never be forgotten. Each animal was properly groomed and prepared for the day before it began, Gremlin, Amigo, Pampa and Daisy along with the Aviary Birds looked their best. To find out how they primped and prepared you need to read Chapter 8 after all I cannot give it all away and take the fun out of finding out for yourself. Let’s not forget Ms. Peanut, Lizzy Bet and Savannah Lexy along with Koko and the best play day treats they could possibly have. Each animal had a special job and although some might not have wanted to perform that duty they did. The cats were happy to sit on the limb do her sound and look cute. Koko manned the photo booth and Ms. Peanut reported on the behavior of anyone who did not act the right way and you better not be talking on your cell phone. Each animal learned an important lesson in giving of himself or herself, working as a team and that they could do anything if they just tried.
A chance encounter and an amazing adventure that would never end as this special dog named Bibi brought more than joy, love and understanding but took so many and brought them together as one. You can do anything if you try and have the inclination to strife to be your best. Each animal did everything they were asked to do, each one contributed their special skills and each child can do the same. Everyone is talented in something. Some in art, music, reading, sports or organizing games that everyone can play. Imagine a world where everyone cooperates works together and sets a positive example for younger children and even for young adults.
So, if you want to learn how to fly and you are an animal who is not afraid of heights contact Bibi for lessons she wants to share her skills with others! What will happen next? What about another play day? What other skills will Bibi learn and share? Just what will the other animals do the next time? What is their next adventure going to be? Imagine if she is hired to find a missing animal, object or even a child! Imagine the possibilities! They are endless. A great book that should be in every school library and in classroom libraries of children from first grade even up to grade six. So many lessons to be learned as children can write their own adventures for Bibi and even write some letters to her about how they feel about what she has done for so many. The love of a family, the determination of one special dog and the hope that we can understand our own differences and embrace them.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer