Connie Gotsch (author), John Cogan (illustrator); BELLE'S CHALLENGE; Artemesia Publishing (Children's: Young Adult Fiction) 12.95 ISBN: 9781932926224
Byline: Lynn Evarts
As if moving from Illinois to New Mexico wasn't challenge enough for Belle, a heeler that Darcy saved from abusive owners, she also discovers that there is no agility club in which she can compete.
Darcy, Belle and her lab, Buster, soon meet their neighbor, Susan, and her airedale terrier, Jazzy, and they become fast friends. Unfortunately, across their backyard, the mayor lives with his dog-hating daughter, Emily, and her younger sister, Katherine. To keep Belle busy, Darcy enrolls the dogs in Canine Good Citizen classes and begins teaching them how to work as Reading Therapy Dogs at the library.
Belle hates just lying there while kids read to her. When Katherine, Emily's sister, comes to read to the therapy dogs, Emily and her dog-fearing mother make things difficult for Darcy and her dogs. No one can deny Katherine's progress, however, and Belle learns that she can accomplish things, even if she finds them very difficult.
This book is the third, and last, in a trilogy about Darcy and Belle. Belle starts out as an abused puppy who has to learn to find her confidence. Each book is narrated by Belle, who has come a long way in learning to trust people and other animals. This book tests that trust by introducing Emily, a competitive, arrogant girl who challenges both Darcy and Belle with her lies and mean behavior.
While the book can be pedantic at times, it teaches the reader a powerful lesson about doing what is right, even if it might not be the most comfortable thing to do. Even though Darcy and Belle's confidence is tested, they...