#154 – Freedom Pen by Dionna L. Mann

 4.5 Stars

Back Cover:  Being mean ain’t in nobody’s blood.

Reckon folks will argue that one until there’s no more moonshine on the mountains.  But in Freedom Pen that’s what Sarah the Twerp believes.  And soon she and her brother, Billy, are setting out on a courageous summertime adventure to free two pit bull pups from a violet future.  Will the pup’s heroes succeed in their quest, though they’ve been penned in by a violet past themselves?

Thirteen-year-old Billy and his eight-year-old sister, Sarah, live with their Uncle Jim and Aunt Maureen ever since their father died a violent death at the hands of their mother.  Uncle Jim is acquiring two pit bull puppies with the intention of training them to fight other dogs.  Uncle Jim expects to fill his wallet up with cash.  Sired by a prize-fighting dog, he expects  the puppies to be winners.

......I intend on putting Billy in charge of those mutts.  
.............Thataway, he can learn a lesson or two 
..........................about real life.  
....................These are fighting dogs.   
.................(Mean), It’s in their blood.

Billy is not happy about his Uncle’s plans.  He wants nothing to do with dog fighting.  When he had to go to a fight with Uncle Jim, he moved to the back of the room wishing he could shut out the sounds.

........ . . the gnarling, growling, beastly sound . . . 
......   ......Two pit bulls were at each other . . . 
....... . . friends were yelling, chanting, cheering . . . 
....... Right then, I hear the final bite of the one dog, 
...............and the final yelp of the other.
............................................

Billy builds a pen for the pups and goes with his Uncle to pick them up.  Billy immediately has feelings for the pups, as they lay in a box on his lap, cold and hungry.  Sarah insists on naming the pups Tonto and Silver, after a fond happy memory of life with mom and dad.

Uncle Jim is furious when he catches Sarah playing with the puppies.  Sarah, having dressed up the pups in her colorful ribbons, did not help his mood.  He kicked one pup, then used a stick to poke the other pup until the inflicted pain made the puppy growl.

Billy has not “trained” the pups one day and has no plans to start.  What he does plan to do is help the pups ran away, keeping the pit bulls from violent lives of dog-fighting.  He and Sarah build a new pen out in the woods, by the river.  Sarah it Freedom Pen Using river rocks, logs, tree branches, and twigs wrapped with vine for the ceiling, they make an excellent pen.

Before they can get the pups out, Uncle Jim brings home a training aid and demonstrates how to use it.  Billy refuses to try out the tool, argues a little, and then runs inside to his room.  Later, Uncle Jim and Aunt Maureen have a loud fight over the dog-fighting venture.  It is a stormy night outside as well.  Later, Sarah and the pups are missing.

PARAGRAPHS EDITED OUT – INCORRECT INFORMATION IRRELEVANT TO REVIEW – MY APOLOGIES

I enjoyed reading Freedom Pen.  The characters are realistic; each has a distinct voice that is easy to hear.  The writing is very good.  The author knows how to tell a story with few words.  This is a Fast-Friday Read*.  At 78 pages, it takes a mere hour or two to read Freedom Pen.  While short on words, this story has much to say.

The publisher website states Freedom Pen is set in 1941 rural Virginia.  Virginia is the setting, but nothing in the story made me think of 1941 or 1991.  Freedom Pen’s setting could be any year.  Dog fighting and animal abuse continues to be a problem yet today.

Freedom Pen is a story of hope and courage.  Though the subject is dog-fighting, the violence is restricted to a couple of sentences in chapter one, and a couple more spread through-out the remaining pages.  None of the violence is extreme, nor will the story cause nightmares.  Using movie ratings, the book is PG.  Written for the middle grades, Freedom Pen is perfect for any animal lover, and those interested in a great Fast Friday Read*.

.................It ain’t no harm in it, Morie. 
.....................Uncle Jim tells his wife.
..........I sure don’t think the dogs would agree . . . 
......................Aunt Maureen replies. 

…………………………………….

...........Pit bulls are not innately violent creatures 
......................Mean is not in their blood.

………………………………………

Freedom Pen

Author:  Dionna L. Mann   website
Publisher:  Pugalicious Press   website
Release Date:
ISBN:  978-0-9838240-7-7
Number of Pages:  78
Ages:  9 to 13 (+)
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* Fast Friday Reads is a new feature at Kid Lit Reviews.  ....Each Friday, a children's or middle grade book that is ...........readable in less than two hours, will be reviewed.  

Fridays, you wait for work/school to end, and your weekend .fun to start. Fast Friday Reads are great while waiting .........around, during breaks, or anytime you have 1 to 2 hours free.  

What can be better than immersing yourself into the world of a children's author's mind? Fast Friday Reads are usually ....less than 100 pages.  

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3 thoughts on “#154 – Freedom Pen by Dionna L. Mann

  1. Pingback: Armchair BEA 2013: Final Day | Kid Lit Reviews

  2. As the publisher of Freedom Pen, I just wanted to mention that the copy you read was an ARC/advanced reader copy– it is not the final product, and may have some mistakes in it–which were caught and corrected for the final printing. Also, Freedom Pen is not a self-published book. It is being published by Pugalicious Press, a small press. We are a PAL Publisher through SCBWI as well.

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    • Jennifer and Kid Lit readers,,

      I deeply apologize for the mistake. I have emailed Ms. Carson a letter of apology.

      This kind of error should never happen and will not again. ARCs are often used on Kid Lit Reviews, so I understood what that meant–an unfinished copy.

      Any errors I in the original review is corrected by the publisher before the final print copies are made. That information was therefor irrelevant and I apologize for my mentioning what should have been ignored.

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