I am always looking for new books that are targeted at the age range my boys are in, because they have my love of reading, and thoroughly enjoy new books. I recently came across a review of Hooper Finds a Family: A Hurricane Katrina Dog's Survival Tale by Jane Paley on the blog of a friend, and she shared the contact information with me, and I was able to get a review copy to read, and now share my thoughts with you.
I want to say that this book is aimed at ages 8-12 (grades 3-7) and that is right on target. This book is written from the perspective of the dog, Hooper, and while it is fictional, it is based on facts. It starts out detailing Hooper's trials as he fights for his survival during Hurricane Katrina, and for that reason I don't think it would be appropriate for children any younger than 8. My soon to be 8 year old wouldn't be too upset by the struggles, but my 9 year old with Asperger's would be traumatized by these events. He gets scared enough during normal thunderstorms as it is.
I would recommend parents read this book BEFORE you have your kids read it, just to make sure they can handle the struggles Hooper faces.
I found that Hooper was very easy to relate to, and the emotions he exhibits are probably pretty accurate. While I am sure that the family that lost Hooper was very sad that they never found him, I just adored the portion of the story about Hooper with his new family. When Hooper gets matched with his new family in New York, they have just lost their longtime dog companion, and the father especially, struggles to accept a new dog into their lives. But once he does, it is so touching!
Hooper is a very brave dog, and endures many life threatening situations, but shows how he not only survives, but thrives. He overcomes his fears, and comes to love and embrace the new family he is sent to live with.
***Some of the proceeds from the book will go to Labs4rescue, which matches stray labs with new families and the organization that matched Hooper with Paley. Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of Hooper Finds a Family to facilitate my review. No positive opinion was required, no compensation was exchanged, and all opinions expressed are 100% mine and were not influenced in any manner.***