Birdseye Chronicles by L.A. Goldsmith

Birdseye Chronicles by L.A. Goldsmith
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (101 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

This is the story of neighborhood friends: Starbrite (the Chihuahua) who’s afraid of the world; Roger (the Rhodesian Ridgeback) who’s frustrated in love; Natasha (the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) who’s hoping to be a mother; Puck (the Dandie Dinmont Terrier) who’s wanting to smell flowers and be with his family instead of kenneled; Delroy (the Boxer) who’s focused on getting rid of an Airedale Terrier from the neighborhood because he’s different; Marshall (the German Shepherd) who makes continual neighborhood rounds as a retired police dog; Saluki (the Saluki) who calmly helps others with her understanding ways and sensitivity and who likes to spend time with her three-legged friend Norkel (the Fox Terrier-Dachshund mix) who moved away and is now guarded by Titan (the Tibetan Mastiff). Meanwhile, the mysterious Felicity and Hope sisters (Standard Poodles) cross paths in startling ways with several of the neighborhood dogs to offer strange wisdom and guidance during times of confusion or fear. So, what do all these neighborhood dogs have in common?—A search for meaning and love.

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This book had a large cast of characters, but it did a great job of introducing them all to the audience. Each dog had his or her own unique history, appearance, and personality. This went a long way in helping me remember who was who, especially in the beginning when there were a lot of dogs running around and I hadn’t yet learned to identify them immediately. I also appreciated the fact that the author sometimes repeated certain important facts about various dogs who hadn’t shown up in the plot recently in order to jog the reader’s memory. That was a helpful thing to do.

I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to the plot development. There were times when it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. As much as I enjoyed the characters and seeing how they interacted with each other, they didn’t always have quite enough to do. I would have given this tale a five star rating if there had been a slightly higher amount of conflict or adventure in it.

All of the characters felt like real dogs to me in a good way. There were times when their understanding of our world was quite different from the way a person would explain or remember the same events. A few times I had to pause and think about what specific characters was trying to share with the audience because of how dog-like their interpretations of those events were. This is exactly what I’d want to find in a story about these animals, so I was glad to see it happen more than once.

Birdseye Chronicles should be read by anyone who loves all things related to canines.

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