Bestselling and award-winning author Allen Paul has created an endearing character in Honey, a swamp dog who gets rescued at the moment she's about to get shot. Taken to live at Banbury Cross Farm with other rescued Dixie Dingos, her quick cuts and darting turns soon draw notice; she's then trained for agility championships, the most popular of all canine sports. From the start, Honey forms a deep bond with Miss Jane, who saved her in the nick of time. Her trainer is Ace, a worldly wise black man who manages the farm's kennel. Honey forms another deep bond with Miss Jane's partner, Mr. Billy, a skilled horseman who delights Honey by quoting famous rhymes.
The story is told by Honey in a charming southern voice. She's just turned one (equal to a 10-year-old girl or boy) when the story begins. At its center is a haunting mystery: Why are swamp critters turning up dead with a wild look in the eye? Many believe a big coyote named Geronimo scares them to death. When two dead dingo pups are found, Honey becomes convinced that her pack, which is still in the swamp, could be next. Somehow she has to get them out. The plot thickens when several small pets get killed in the nearby town. Rewards are posted and a group led by the trapper Topper Guy, who nearly shot Honey, head for the swamp. Twelve innocent dingos mistaken for coyotes get shot. Miss Jane confronts Topper Guy and demands that the killings stop. The upshot is a high stakes bet: Topper Guy wagers his guns against Miss Jane's favorite horse that Honey won't win at the Sportsman's Championship. How Honey fares in that contest, and how the mystery killer gets caught, make for a thrilling read that kids at heart of all ages will love.
In the end, Honey learns an unforgettable lesson that her pack, which now includes humans, comes first. Based on a true story, this book will appeal to middle grade readers and adults. On July 17, 2013 a front-page article in the New York Times cited new genetic evidence suggesting that the Dixie Dingo (registered as the Carolina Dog) is the oldest breed in North America, predating European settlement by many centuries. They were Native American camp dogs but are not related to the Australian dingos. Many Dixie Dingos still live in southern swamps. With their antenna-like ears and muscular build, their look is quite distinctive. Dixie Dingos are excellent pets who form deep bonds with humans.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
Honey is a one year old, feral Dixie Dingo dog living in the southern swamps with her pack. Honey spends her time playing with her family and finding food, she has to watch out for the gators and other swamp dangers. While chasing a skunk, Honey slips up and gets her foot caught in a trap. When the trappers find her, they mistake her for a coyote and want to shoot Honey for her hide. Just when she is about to be shot, Miss Jane shows up. Miss Jane is a dog rescuer, breeder and advocate for the Dixie Dingos. Honey is taken in my Miss Jane and treated like a queen at Banbury Cross Farm. Honey also begins training in agility with Ace, and she learns that she is really good at it! Miss Jane and Honey learn of strange things going on in the swamp, animals are being poisoned. Honey wants to stop the animals from being poisoned and hopefully save her own family.
A fun book for middle grade readers. Narrated by Honey herself, the story is sweet, charming and unique. As a one year old dog, Honey is given the personality of about a 10 year old human and is anthropomorphasized to make decisions and view the world as a child would at that age. Through Honey's eyes I learned about the environment of the southern swamps including some different creatures that lived there, how they lived and the different plants. I also learned about the origins of the Dixie Dingo itself; as a dog lover, this was great information to know. Also incorporated into Honey's past is good information about U.S. history, the treatment of Native Americans and the Trail of Tears. The danger in the book comes in the form of two trappers who were treating animals poorly. I was glad to see that Honey was able to help solve the problem along with her human companions using the skills that she had.
A great read for any dog lover!
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Allen began his career as a reporter with the Associated Press in Raleigh, NC. Later, he wrote speeches in Washington for a congressional committee chairman, a member of the president’s cabinet and the chairman of one presidential campaign. He was in Poland gathering material for his first book when the Berlin Wall fell. That book – Katyn: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth – became a bestseller in Eastern Europe. It earned warm praised from the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Review of Books and many other media outlets.
He was a Fulbright Fellow in Poland in 2010-11 and collected material there for a novel based on a daring mission of the Polish underground at the end of World War Two. It will be published in 2015.
His first book for younger readers (middle grade) was inspired by his own dog, Honey, whose breed – the Dixie Dingo – is probably the oldest in North America.
Allen holds a B.A. degree in English with a minor in History from Guilford College, and a Masters of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Betsy, live in Raleigh and have two grown children.