Today, while I recover from a broken toe, I'm reading Murder in the Middle Pasture, #4 in the Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson. I'm tutoring a student next Monday who chose this for his summer book report. I was dreading reading it. To my surprise, the book is witty and engrossing. Hank has a unique voice - he is convinced that he is a superior dog but often screws up and must admit his fallibility. He is constantly getting in trouble, although he often sugarcoats his behavior. His helper, Drover, acts lazy and incompetent, but he frequently outwits Hank with his superior brain.
I recently read another animal adventure book that might appeal to reluctant readers (Only 119 pages, big print, lots of action and adventure). A Bear Named Trouble by Marion Dane Bauer is based loosely on a true story. Touble, a three-year old Alaskan bear, is pushed away by his mother and forced to survive on his own. Lonely and confused, the bear gets on the wrong side of an enormous, grieving moose who breaks Trouble's jaw. The young bear wanders into the city, encounters a little boy named Jonathan, and breaks into the zoo to find bear fellowship. Chaos follows after Trouble accidentally kills Jonathan's favorite zoo animal, Mama Goose. Disgusted, Jonathan begins to hate the bear. Still, does he want the bear to be killed if the fish and game wardens capture the renegade? A quick, exciting read.