Hooper Finds a Family: A Hurricane Katrina Dog’s Survival Tale by Jane Paley is based on a true story of the dog that Paley and her family adopted after Hurricane Katrina left thousands of dogs, cats and other animals homeless.
The book is written in first person narrative — told entirely from the dog’s point of view. In this fictional account of Hooper’s rescue, he can talk to other animals like otters and squirrels. This extremely intelligent dog also understands human speech perfectly.
This is a chapter book that will appeal to young readers. The story is fairly simple: dog left behind, escapes from yard, is rescued, spends a short amount of time in a shelter, and is adopted. Louisiana dog becomes New York dog.
The story is inspiring because it shows the family struggling with a dog who arrives sick and scared. But they don’t give up on him, and today Hooper is not only healthy, he is a certified therapy dog (through Delta Society) and a reading therapy dog for children (through READ).
Real pictures of Hooper are included in the back of the book, which will helps children understand that although some of the book is fiction (the part about where he grew up and how he survived the hurricane), the ending is very real.
Because of his ordeal, the real Hooper suffers from separation anxiety and is afraid of thunderstorms. Also, unlike most Labs, Hooper hates water.
Because of its simple theme, this book will probably appeal most to readers in third through fifth grade. Animal-loving kids will really enjoy this story with the very happy ending.
Hooper and Paley have appeared on CBS News Online, USA Today, and numerous other publications. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Labs4rescue, the group that rescued Hooper and matched him with Paley.
This review was based on a hardcover final copy of the book provided by the publisher.