STELLA, by McCall Hoyle, Shadow Mountain, March 2, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
A dog must overcome its fears in order to save herself and the young human who loves her in Stella, by McCall Hoyle.
Ever since she was a puppy, Stella was trained to use her powerful beagle nose to sniff out dangerous chemicals and help her handler keep people safe. But during a routine security inspection, Stella misses the scent of an explosive. The sound of the blast is loud and scary. Unable to go back to work because of her anxiety, Stella is retired as a working dog.
When a young girl name Cloe wants to adopt Stella, the beagle knows this is her last chance to prove her worth. But how? When the beagle smells a strange chemical inside Cloe’s body, a scent that surges just before the girl has a seizure, Stella’s nose makes the connection. But how can Stella warn her new family without them thinking she’s having an anxiety attack? How can she convince others that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Cloe’s life? —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
Stella is a book that you’ll talk about after finishing it. It’s one you’ll think about, too. That’s because McCall Hoyle is an excellent storyteller. The book is told from the point of view of the title character. You get a real sense of what it’s like to be a dog. The behavior and thought process are spot on. But it’s when you read her tale within the context of conversations and observations that you truly understand how difficult it must have been for Hoyle to maintain a perfect balance.
Stella is loveable from the start. And so is Cloe. The two are a pair made in heaven. It feels as if they both imprint on each other.
This is a fast-moving and uplifting read that I can’t wait to share with my own daughter when she’s a little bit older.
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