Summary: Far out in the sky, on the other side of the sun, is the Planet of the Dogs. Dogs have always lived there in peace and happiness.
There are country dogs and city dogs. They live in places like Shepherd Hills, Poodletown, Muttville, Biscuit Town, and Shaggy Corners.
The most special thing about dogs is their ability to love. They do this better than any other creature.
One day, many years ago, the council of the elder dogs learned that there were problems on Earth, the Planet of the People. Many people had forgotten how to love. They had become cruel and greedy.
This is the story of the first time that dogs came down to Planet Earth to teach people about love and to bring peace to Green Valley. -- Lightning Source
When Robert J. McCarthy, author of PLANET OF THE DOGS, asked if my daughter and I would be interested in reading his PLANET OF THE DOGS books, we jumped at the chance. After reading the books' descriptions and some of the reviews, we just knew we had to read them for ourselves. There was no doubt in my mind that these books contain some very special and important messages.
I enjoyed the story in PLANET OF THE DOGS. This first book told how people were losing touch with what's important and becoming very unhappy. Dogs on the Planet of the Dogs decided to come to Earth and help. They first communicated with children because their hearts and minds are more open than adults; however, it wasn't long before they won over even the most difficult humans. The story had a little bit of adventure, a little bit of the supernatural, and a lot of entertainment.
Not only did I like the story, but I loved so many of the messages in the book -- messages that are important for children and adults to remember! It was nice to see all the different ways that dogs are beneficial in our every day lives as well as some of the less obvious ways that they bring happiness. I especially liked how the potential conflict was averted and how the book ended. It was nice to see a happy ending and have people realize what's important in life.
PLANET OF THE DOGS is almost 80 pages long, so it's not for beginner readers. It does appeal to kids who are comfortable with a longer book (probably eight year olds and up); however, each chapter in the book is very short (only a few pages.) I liked this format because young readers could enjoy the story without getting frustrated, and it makes for a great classroom read-along. The brief chapters also had a few teasers which will entice the reader to continue to the next chapter. There are also some beautiful black and white sketches in PLANET OF THE DOGS. The book is illustrated by Stella Mustanoja McCarty; and her drawings definitely add to the story.
My daughter had a similar reaction to the book that I did. You can read her thoughts here:
People from earth are forgetting about loving each other and they are getting ready to fight. Dogs to the rescue. Dogs travel from Planet of the Dogs to Earth to help people. People didn't know these creatures existed, but most people looked at the dogs and wanted to keep one. The dogs try to finish the mission so that their love would help make the earth a better place.
I liked the book because it was fun to imagine dogs helping people from Earth. I also liked the message that if people help each other, there won't be as much fighting. Dogs still protect people from dangers and make them happier.
After reading the first book in this series, my daughter and I are now anxious to read CASTLE IN THE MIST and SNOW VALLEY HEROES. If the first book is any indication, I'm sure that these books will be entertaining and have great messages too!