Can you get over the cuteness of sweet little Tupelo, riding the rails with her sock toy, Mr. Bones? I thought not. In her newest book, Tupelo Rides the Rails, Melissa Sweet has created a charming, heart-wearming tale of doggy adventure, determination and dreams. Move over Lassie and Toto, there’s a new pooch in town.
After the wonderful dog-inspired timeline at the beginning of the book, page one of this tale finds Tupelo abadoned on the side of the road by her owner, with only her sock toy, Mr. Bones, for company. Quel cruel world! Luckily Tupelo is both resourceul and optimistic and she tells her trusty sidekick, “Everyone belongs somewhere. We’ll find a place.” So off they go, searching for their tribe. They soon find a group of hounds preparing for an ancient bone-burying ritual. The BONEHEADS (Benevolent Order of Nature’s Exalted Hounds Earnest and Doggedly Sublime) plan to bury their bones as offerings as they make wishes to Sirius, the Dog Star. All of the dogs want something a little bit different, but mostly, they’re each longing for their perfect home. I won’t reveal more, because it’s far more delightful just to read it for yourself. But I will tell you there are wieners and a train ride and a whole lot of happy endings involved.
I am crazy about the illustrations. As in one of my other fav Melissa Sweet titles, Carmine, the illustrations here match the free-spirited, whimsical and warm overtones of the text. I can hardly choose a favourite, but it I had to, I’d pick the full-pager of Tupelo sitting all alone at the top of a grassy slope, eyes turned skyward towards the Dog Star, making a wish with all her might with Mr. Bones in her mouth. Adorable. Pure sweetness.
Bravo Melissa Sweet. Give this book to any dog lover, to any kid, to anyone.
Visit Melissa Sweet’s website as well as the Houghton Mifflin Reader Guide for some great suggestions for educators. Oh, and you MUST visit Tupelo’s own site too, My Dog is a Bonehead, where you can send a picture of your pup and he can join the rest of the Boneheads and support Animal Shelters too.
Ride on Tupelo.