I enjoyed The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks. Read all about it in my earlier post of today.
Then I shrugged my way through Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis. It is a friendly little book about a girl who must begin sixth grade in a school 30 miles away from all of her friends. It is an especially difficult transition since she has also moved from an all-girl's school to a co-ed middle school. She is trying to train her new puppy when she realizes that maybe boys can be trained using similar techniques. (There is an adult non-fiction that uses a similar premise. What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People From Animals and Their Trainers by Amy Sutherland is not one I would rush out to buy, but it was interesting to skim and tidbits of information.) Boys are Dogs is a light, summer read for someone planning to enter sixth grade in the next couple of years or who recently survived the experience. It is not amazing, but it is enjoyable, especially if you like fluffy puppies more than you currently like boys.
This morning I began Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Perry. This is a story about a boy growing up on a ranch in Eastern Oregon. I grew up in a part of the country where ranchers did not raise both cattle and sheep because the Range Wars were still too real so that part of this book caught me a bit off guard. Nonetheless it is an interestingly crafted novel, recounting ten incidents throughout the time that Brother's father is serving with the National Guard in Iraq. I am only about a sixth of the way through it, but I think I am going to be favorably impressed with this slim novel for grades four and up. If you like ranches or chess or sheep or cows it is seems to have something for you.