Eight-year-old Storee Wryter is a happy, self-assured little girl with a cat named Critique. Her friend Kyria wants Storee and her parents to adopt a puppy. They are not sure and think the Critique would not like the intrusion.
Mr. Henry, Kyria’s father, arrives to explain what is involved in bringing a puppy into the family. The goal is to get the puppy trained so she can be a “people helper.” After hearing Mr. Henry, the Wryters decide to adopt Addie and spend the money to get her trained. They like the idea of training Addie to be a therapy dog.
Storee walks Addie every day after school, as promised, and helps with the cost of training by contributing part of her allowance. Addie does well in training, catching on fast. Soon she will attend her first day of real school. Addie visits a classroom of children who do not like to read in front of others. One by one, the children and Addie go to a special corner and read. When they all work well together, it Addie is invited to read with the kids every week.
Because Storee is still in school, Mrs. Wryter will take Addie to class each week. On weekends, Storee and her father take Addie on home visits, when invited. The entire family volunteers with Addie and have grown to love her. When it is time for therapy dog training the Writers’ turn it down flat. They love Addie, just as they do Critique, and cannot give her up. This means that Addie will not become a therapy dog for a handicapped child or adult. In time, even Addie and Critique become friends. Here the story ends.
This sweet, short story does a good job explaining a little about service animals and their training. A conflict of some sort would have given the main character, eight-year-old Storee, something to solve that would have enabled her to change by story’s end. There were no difficulties to keep the reader glued to the pages. Sure, Storee learned patience while working with Addie, but readers never see any of that.
The story has too much telling and not enough showing. There are many missed opportunities to shake things up, add some excitement, throw in a curve, and other devices used to keep readers turning those pages. Addie becoming a therapy dog was the Wryter’s initial goal, and why they went through the training with her, yet becoming a service animal was also a possibility.
Addie was so successful at the training school, Kyria suggested Addie move on to service dog training. With this training, Addie could become a disabled person’s service dog. Understandably, the family did not want to let go of Addie. She had become a valued member of their family, whom they love. This is the main conflict. How is Storee going to convince her parents not to let Addie leave, and become someone else’s dog, after spending so much money and time toward that possible goal? Heart breaking, well, it could have been.
There is much potential in this story. The writing is good. Humor is used and is at the correct level for children. The dialogue helped to propel the story forward. Unfortunately, too much dialogue has the characters telling us what happened, rather than letting us see what happened.
There is no conflict in the story, even minor, that would allow the main character, eight-year-old Storee, to solve and cause her to change in some way by the end of the story. The story simply stops after deciding not to train Addie as a therapy dog. Ms. Simpson-Carducci has talent, knows how to structure a story, how to use dialogue, and reaches out to the young reader. If she revises the story, adds conflict, and editing, The Storee Wryter Tales can become a great series for children.
Ms. Carducci is the Director of
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