This side of wild : mutts, mares, and laughing dinosaurs / Gary Paulsen ; illustrated by Tim Jessell.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Newbery Honor-winning author Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom. His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he illustrates the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.
    • Content Notes:
      Introduction: Alone -- Preface: The learning process -- A confusion of horse, a border collie named Josh, a grizzly bear who liked holes, and a poodle with three teeth -- A very young soldier, a very old man, a mynah bird named Betty, and Gretchen -- Hollywood and the woman/dog who knew Hemingway; then four hundred sheep and floating Louise and the coyote that made Louise hate me -- On birds, and bees, and rest area non-negotiated hostile existence -- On the need for a murder of ravens to maintain control of just about everything; and laughing dinosaurs -- Interrogatum: Three things to learn.
    • Notes:
      Ages 10-14.
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2015 September #2

Just when you might have thought Paulsen had depleted his well of stories about life with animals comes this memoir. A plucky poodle, vengeful ravens, and a mynah bird that could channel President Kennedy's voice are among those he introduces readers to in this episodic book of anecdotes. The structure is loose and meandering—the author of Hatchet (1987) comes across as an amiable friend—but the meaning at the heart of the book is clear: animals are amazing. As Paulsen says, "We don't own animals. . . . / We live with them. / We get to live with them." A case in point is Gretchen, a coffee-drinking dog he encountered when he was feeling overwhelmed by his lessons from the army's nuclear-warhead school. Visiting the gentle canine and her owner gave the young man a chance to get outside himself and communicate with someone who truly seemed to listen on a deeper level. For anyone who loves the natural world and excellent writing, this is a must-read. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring

Renowned author and outdoorsman Paulsen recounts personal anecdotes of remarkable encounters that challenge our perception of animals as simplistic creatures. Through a conversational, free-flowing narrative, Paulsen's strong prose and the compelling subjects of his chosen stories reinforce the central theme that animals should be recognized as compassionate, intelligent, and heroic partners in life's journey. Pen-and-ink sketches illustrate the stories.