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Friday, July 8, 2011

Award-Winning Novelist Writes Books for Youth


Title: Belle’s Star
Author: Connie Gotsch
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Artemesia Publishing (August 11, 2009)
English
ISBN-10: 1932926011
ISBN-13: 978-1932926019


A herding dog who knows nothing but abuse and neglect is dumped by her cruel owners, who do not need her. She finds herself with Darcy, a spunky soccer-playing girl, and her Aunt Ellen. They show Belle kindness, but she has serious trust issues.

Aunt Ellen’s cat and dog try to convince Belle trusting people is okay. Because she begins to like these animals, Belle decides to hang around Ellen’s yard. She also proves herself useful, herding Ellen’s dog out of the flower garden when he tries to dig there. Just as she thinks she’s found an oka spot to live, Ellen’s husband, Jim, accidentally stomps on Belle’s paw. Terrified, she bites him. Bad choice. The dog and cat tell her she could have stepped away from Jim. Not fond of animals, he insists Belle go to the pound. Instead, Ellen sends her to Darcy’s house. Belle realizes her mistake, and resolves to do better when bullies come around.

Belle likes Darcy’s mother, but children have mistreated Belle, so she fears Darcy. Darcy’s puppy tries to convince Belle she’s safe. Belle falls asleep, too exhausted to argue. Awakening from a nightmare, she finds her teeth clamped on Darcy’s ankle. Belle again fears she will go to the pound for sure this time, since she has mishandled herself again. But to her surprise, Darcy apologizes for startling her. Belle begins to like Darcy.

Darcy’s dad arrives. When he treats Belle kindly, she learns that not all men are cruel. She begins liking Darcy’s whole family, and tries hard to get along with them.

Darcy and her parents take Belle to the park, where they meet Ellen, Jim, and pets. Belle is thrilled to see Ellen and the other animals, but she refuses to go near Jim.

The adults settle on a bench to talk. Belle and the animals wander to the lake, with Darcy. Belle’s former owners show up. The mean spirited pair intimidate Darcy and steal Belle. Belle escapes, and with her friends, devises a plan using her herding skills, to rescue Darcy.

When the plan succeeds, Belle realizes she can handle anything--even Jim--as he finally gives her a pat.

~Connie Gotsch is a multi award-winning author of several books including Snap Me a Future and A Mouth Full of Shell. She also wrote a sequel to this book called Belle's Trial.  Connie blogs at conniegotsch.blogspot.com and is a radio host in the four corners area.
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