Behind every legend lies the truth…
About Legend of Ghost Dog Island:
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.
Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs...which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He should know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps…But maybe there’s something Papa doesn’t know.
Nikki and her new friends begin to uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend…and town folks aren’t talking.
Then her beloved beagle goes missing.
Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.
Title: The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Author Name: Rita Monette
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery
Tags: Adventure, mystery, middle grade, louisiana, bayou, dogs
Length: Approx. 204 pages
Re-Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Nikki Landry is no stranger to moving. Her family moves whenever her father decides it's time for a new crabbing location, which is frequently. They live on a houseboat in the bayou of Louisiana, making the moves a whole bunch easier than if they lived on land. Except, it isn't easy for 10-year-old Nikki.
This time, she doesn't want to make any new friends. There isn't any point since they probably won't stay here for any length of time. That doesn't last long, however, after she hears the Legend of Ghost Dog Island. The island in question is quite near where her home is docked and she's sure that she's being watched by someone.
Nikki and her new friends are curious about the legend and the island, yet move folks are reluctant to speak about it. The kids decide, at that point, that the only way to see what's going on is to explore the island. It's only after their scarefest do they get someone to finally open up about the island, a convent, and long ago tales of suspected witchcraft. The legend becomes all to real when Nikki's dog, Snooper, disappears. In Nancy Drew style - Nikki and her friends go on the hunt for Snooper before he becomes part of the legend.
The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is a mystery geared toward middle grade children. That being said, it is also a perfect book for adults who love #MG, #YA, or #NancyDrew style books. I, for one, am a huge fan of Nancy Drew. My "About Me" section of this blog says it all :) I also have a picture of my late kitty protecting my Nancy Drew books.
Rita Monette does an excellent job bringing Nikki and her friends alive between the pages of this book. The world building is circa the 1950's and includes certain fashions (penny loafers, poodle skirts, etc.) of the time. As the book is based in the bayous of Louisiana, Rita includes dialect native to the area, along with characters who speak French. For ease of the reader, the beginning of the book contains a glossary, as well.
This book was well-developed (characters, mystery, plot) and written well. I was engaged from the very beginning and the entire story flowed. I would recommend this to anyone who has children that love mysteries and to all adults that do, too.
Review copy supplied to me at no cost in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Read an Excerpt:
“I’m going to hate Morgan City,” I complained to my dog Snooper, “no matter what Papa says.”
My beagle laid his head on my lap and gazed up at me with his watery eyes. He pretty much agreed with me on everything.
I sat on the deck of our old flat-bottomed houseboat as it glided through the winding bayous. Papa’s fishing boat, filled with baskets of line and crab crates, trailed behind on its rope. We were leaving Pierre Part…Lydia…far behind. I rolled the legs of my overalls up and dangled my feet over the edge.
“Nicole Landry, keep your feet out of that filthy water,” Mama hollered from the doorway of the small living area of our floating home. She wiped her hands on her stained apron, then fixed the comb that held her long dark hair in a pile on top of her head. Mama was born and raised in New Orleans, but left the big city for a life in the bayous with Papa. She never looked back. At least that’s what she always told folks.
“They ain’t in the water, Mama.” I held my legs up so she could see they were dry.
She opened the patched screened door and shooed a fly out, before closing it and going back inside.
I twirled the end of my long black braid. Moving to a new place always gave me a lump in my throat as big as a bullfrog. But I wasn’t going to cry this time. I was ten years old after all.
I’d lived in that same house since the day I was born—as Mama always tells it, "the coldest morn’ of 1946." But I couldn’t rightly recall how many times it got tied up to a new dock. Mama liked to say Papa never let the grass grow under his feet. But I could hardly think of a time when his rubber boots ever touched grass.
Papa grew up in Morgan City, and he said folks there were mighty friendly. But it seemed to me, most city dwellers weren’t too welcoming to my kind, being from the wrong side of the levee and all. And the city was where I’d have to go to school.
“And, as for making friends with any kids there, no way.” I shook my finger in Snoop’s face. “Just to up and leave ’em behind anyway.”
He managed a tiny whimper, as if I was fussing at him.
I thought about Lydia standing on the Belle River Bridge waving goodbye. My eyes burned, and I squeezed ’em shut. I felt in my pocket for her note. I’d read it at least a hundred times since she’d handed it to me, right before I went stomping down the ladder from her tree house. She’d scribbled down her post office box address and "write me," then signed her name with the little heart over the i like she always did.
“Hmph!” I told Snooper. “She’s crazy if she thinks I’m gonna write her after what she did.”
Lydia Hebert was my best friend in the whole world…until yesterday. It was a lot easier to leave while I was still mad at her. But now it felt like an empty hole inside me.
The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Meet the Author:
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state.
Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father—who made his living in those bayous—of reasons to stay out of the swamp.
She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that make their habitat on the Cumberland Plateau, working in the garden, and frequenting waterfalls.
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