Friday, July 9, 2021

Secondhand Dogs blog tour - 7.09.21

Secondhand Dogs
Secondhand Dogs
written by Carolyn Crimi
illustrated by Melissa Manwill
published by Balzer + Bray

I know I can always find readers for books that have animals as narrators.  And if it is a dog narrator?  It's a sure thing!  I am happy to report this book is a sure thing!  

Secondhand Dogs is another name for rescue dogs.  Miss Lottie has quite a few.  There's Gus who is the leader of their pack.  He's a terrier and has a heart of gold.  Maybe too gold because he would do anything to spare any bad feelings for a dog.  Then there's Tank, the big bulldog who is a natural protector. The dog he is usually protecting is Moon Pie, the newest addition to their pack.  Moon Pie is a pug and is missing his former owner.  Finally, there is Roo, a hunting dog with only three legs.  Roo is a bit twitchy, a little nervous, and a lot of energy.  Rounding out the animals is a very quiet cat named Ghost.  With all of these animals, Miss Lottie is lucky to have Quinn, a young neighbor boy help her out.  Quinn is fantastic with the animals and they provide their own kind of therapy for Quinn.  At home and at school he is bullied by his older brother, Jessie, and Jessie's friends.

While this pack looks out for each other, Miss Lottie is getting ready to introduce them to a new dog.  From the start, Decker does not bring about happy or positive feelings for any of the dogs.  Moon Pie tries to talk the new dog up, Roo just wants to know if the new dog gets Gus' okay, and Tank is an immediate no.  Despite Gus' bad feelings about the newcomer, he agrees to allow the new dog into their pack.  However, Decker has plans that don't include the other dogs.

As soon as they get home, the trouble begins.  Decker ends up being very manipulative and causes problems for all of the dogs, picking them off one at a time.  Of course the dogs can't communicate in human language and are unable to tell Miss Lottie what is going on.  However, once Decker pulls off a stunt that leaves a dog in a lot of trouble, the pack must get together to help one of their own.

This book is going to be wildly popular!  I am already so excited to get it into the hands of readers.  It's one of those books that you're going to need multiple copies of.  Readers love reading from the perspective of the dog (Fenway and Hattie, need I say more???) and this time we hear the voices of all the dogs.  While multiple voices can be tricky, I love that there are illustrations included in this story.  Each chapter tells you whose perspective we're reading from in that chapter along with an illustration of the dog.  This was very helpful for me and allowed me to picture the dog very quickly from the start of the book.

* examples of the adorable illustrations located by the chapter number

Ideas for using this for book study/book club/guided reading:
  • take a closer look at character traits.  Since the author included multiple voices how did she make sure you understood the different traits of the dogs?
  • talk about perspective.  How did the change in character perspective add to the understanding of the story as it moved forward?
  • dig deeper into emotions.  There was a variety of emotions between the animals and the humans.  How did the author show the emotions and what did it add to the scene?

Don't take my word for it, here's additional praise for Secondhand Dogs:

“A sensitive, satisfying, and intriguing canine tale.”   —Kirkus Reviews

About author, Carolyn Crimi:

Carolyn Crimi received her MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College in 2000. She has published over 15 books, including Dear TabbyDon’t Need FriendsBoris and BellaHenry and the Buccaneer BunniesWhere’s My Mummy?, and I Am the Boss of this Chair. Her book There Might Be Lobsters won The Golden Kite Award in 2018 for Best Picture Book Text, and her middle grade debut, Weird Little Robots, was named a BEA Book Buzz pick. Carolyn has received over thirty state awards and award nominations and was given The Prairie State Award in 2012 for her body of work. You can visit Carolyn at

Facebook: Carolyn Crimi       Twitter: @crims10

There is a fantastic Educator's Guide that goes along with this book.  Click on this link to see it.

Secondhand Dogs published this week so run to your local library and store to pick up a copy of this one!


  1. This is the fifth super-enthusiastic review of this book that I've seen this week—it sounds like a book I won't want to miss! All the different points of view sound quite intriguing, and I love that there are illustrations of who is speaking to make those transitions less confusing. Thanks so much for the great review!