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Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

Last updated Monday, February 1, 2010

Author: Berkeley Breathed
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 0399252185
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2010

Synopsis: Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend—and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart.

Note to readers:
•  Note: As you read the book, ask the kids what they think will happen next.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have a dog or pet? What is his/her name? Do you love your pet?
•  Do you know what the Westminster Dog Show is? (famous dog show where dogs win prizes)
•  What is on the dog’s leg? Why do you think the ladle is attached to the dog’s leg?
•  Why are the dogs flying? (open both covers and see what is really going on)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever or would you ever adopt a dog from the pound?
•  Are dogs naturally aggressive or are they taught that? What about people? (no for both)
•  Why did Cassius want to get Sam in trouble? (jealous)
•  Why did Sam want to go back to Heidi’s home? (he was loved there, despite Cassius)

Craft ideas:
•  Make a dog/pet themed Valentine.
•  Make dog mask—have each child pick a different breed—poodle, Labrador, bulldog, Scottie; greyhound….

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!