Book Information

Reviews

Awards

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Belle's Star

Belle's Star
Author: Constance Gotch

Illustrator: John Cogan

ISBN: 978-1-932926-01-9
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 2009
Price: $8.99
Pages: 136

When Big Toby and his father, Bonehead throw Belle out of their truck at a convenience store, 12 year-old Darcy and her Auntie Ellen rescue the frightened puppy. They show Belle kindness and offer her a life with love and security. However Belle thinks no human is worth trusting. Darcy's family and their pets, including a cat, try to show Belle otherwise. Will she realize that though she cannot change her past, she can put it aside and build a future full of happiness? When Bonehead and Big Toby reappear and threaten Darcy, the girl's survival depends on the choice Belle makes.

Written in the first person from a dog's point of view, Belle's Star empowers young people who have escaped abuse and bullying to build new lives. Adventure and colorful characters help these children face painful issues, and find the strength to heal.

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Download the FREE companion Activity Book. This book is perfect for teachers, counselors, or others helping children face the difficulties of bullying.

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Reviews

Not a review, but a wonderful write up about Belle's Star in the Daily-Times of Farmington, NM written by Debra Mayeux.



Review by Joan Joan Schweighardt, author of GUDRUN'S TAPESTRY posted at Our Place to Paws website.
The narrator in BELLE'S STAR is Belle, a smallish, reddish, farm dog bred to herd cattle and hence referred to as a "heeler." We learn right away, in this 125-page book written for children ages 10 through 12, that Belle is perceptive, curious, and nervous in new situations-which is to say that kids who buy the book will relate to her immediately. Moreover, she is an awesome storyteller, which is no less than one would expect from a creation of award-winning novelist like Connie Gotsch.

Belle was badly mistreated on the farm where her life began. When we meet her, the farmer and his nasty son are in the process of taking her for a one-way ride in their truck. They kick her out at a gas station and hope never to see her again. But she is rescued by a girl named Darcy and Darcy's aunt Ellen, who happen to be at the station and are witness to what the reader hopes will be Belle's final incident of abuse.

Belle is adorable, and the reader understands that her rescuers are bound to fall in love with her and try to help her out. The suspense comes from wondering whether or not Belle will decide to accept their help-or even recognize it as such. Having known nothing but bullying during her life on the farm, it will take more than a bath and a few doggie treats for Belle to learn to trust. And ultimately it will take an incident in which Darcy is threatened for Belle to learn her first lesson in loyalty.

Connie Gotsch has succeeded in creating a world from a dog's point of view. Buildings are "dens," rooms are "burrows," doorways are "holes," and people are described more often by their smell than how they look. Sounds and textures are also amplified. There are other dogs and even a cat in the story, and their friendly and sometimes foolish communication is reminiscent of the animals in the 1993 hit movie "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey."

BELLE'S STAR is a page-turner, full of adventure and snappy dialogue and even a subplot concerning Darcy and her uncle. But it is also a book full of valuable lessons. Young (and older) readers will learn some good tips about how to treat animals, which is sure to come in handy especially for those who opt to adopt pets from shelters. But there are also some good tips about how people should treat one another. Great illustrations within and a beautiful painting of Darcy and Belle on the cover round out a wonderful reading experience.



Review by Amelia Mae in High Desert Dog magazine.
Belle's Star by Connie Gotsch is a book about a dog who has gone through a lot in her puppy days. She was beaten, not well fed, and not loved until l2 year old Darcy rescues her. Lucklly, Darcy and her Aunt Ellen have dogs that teach Belle how to be a normal dog. Overall, this book is great because it teaches you that dogs have feelings like all of us and to treat animals like we would like to be treated.

Here's a link to the online magazine.



Awards

Finalist in the 2009 New Mexico Book Awards in the Juvenile Book (grade school to junior high school) category.




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