Book Title: From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds by Sunny Weber
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 196 pages
Genre: animals/pets | Publisher: Pups & Purrs Press
Release date: August 23, 2019 | Tour dates: Nov 11 to Dec 2, 2019
Content Rating: G
Eight-week-old Australian Shepherd Kaya is kidnapped by a nasty coyote to be food for his mate and puppies. Instead, the loving mother raises Kaya with her own pups. But as hard as she tries, Kaya can’t completely fit in—she can’t kill prey or stay awake for night hunts. Why can’t she make herself a true coyote? Constantly criticized by her coyote father, Kaya finds support in her new mother and siblings. She also figures out how to contribute through teamwork with her brother and sister. Trapped by a dog rescue, Kaya re-enters the human world and learns the differences between how dogs and coyotes live. When freed to roam again, does she return to her forest freedom—or remain with her farm family? Can Kaya forever straddle between the Wild and the Mild?
Buy the Book: Amazon.com ~ Add to Goodreads
REVIEW by LAWonder10:
From Wild to Mild is sure to become a highly sought after series!
This is a story from an Australian Shepherd's view.
Kaya was confused and scared. It was getting dark, she was in an enclosed yard, and some strange people had taken her away from the warmth and home of her mother. She see two eyes in the shrub. Can it be her mother? She slowly moves closer to see and an animal quickly grabs her by her neck and runs a long way. Kaya soon discovers, he want to eat her!
Kaya discovers this is a coyote, but the mother, with her own two pups, refused to eat her. So Kaya crawled in the middle of the two pups to get warm. Thus, she must learn to survive in a new world, or die.
This is an outstanding series, of acceptance, rejection, love, hate, adjustments, discovering own's self worth and place in life. I am excited to read the next in the series!
Easy analogies can be made between the human and animal species. This book will surely inspire discussion
Elementary aged children, young adults and adults alike, will find this series very entertaining. This is an ideal series for "Family-Time" reading, Summer Reading Programs, or just for personal enjoyment.
The Cover of the Book is beautifully created and the Title is very "Fitting". This is sure to "catch the eye" of the "Browser".
I offer a Five Stars rating for this book.
*This book was a gift, with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
"Sunny Weber takes readers on a remarkable journey between two worlds as we follow the puppy, Kaya, struggle to live and grow with a family of coyotes, and then experience returning to her role as a dog living with people. In addition to exciting adventures, challenges, and drama experienced by Kaya, we also learn about the differences between the animals, and their very different relationships to people.
As a biologist that works with coyotes and dogs, I appreciate the creative way Sunny distinguishes the two animals in such an engaging story. Highly recommended for young readers interested in dogs, coyotes, and the world through their eyes."
Stanley D. Gehrt
Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Extension Wildlife Specialist
School of Environment and Natural Resources
Ohio State University
"What a beautiful, heartwarming book! Sunny incorporates the stories of abused and neglected farmed animals to bring attention to their plight.
Sunny does a wonderful job of telling the story of Kaya, a caring and compassionate dog who is forced to confront her values and make difficult decisions to follow her heart or to fit in. Kaya teaches us to have empathy for all animals, regardless of their species."
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary
Dog in Two Worlds Blog Post #1: ~ Why I Wrote From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds
Children are buffeted in overwhelming directions during their formative years. There are so many options and expectations from society that many children founder in trying to discern how grow up to be the best they can be.
Coming-of-age books address emotional and social challenges that all children face, often beginning at the so-called “middle-grade” years (8-14). Despite supportive adults, most children learn to bury their insecurities under the inability to articulate discomfort. Children with unsupportive or absent adult leadership are even more hindered.
My goal with all my books’ characters is to provide fictional animal friends who experience what children do, such as bullying, ridicule, rejection, insecurity, and the universal seeking of where to belong. Finding your true self is difficult work, even as an adult. Beginning on the journey of self-discovery as an emotionally developing young person can be daunting and confusing.
I wrote this book to address the main theme of the importance of searching for your true self, regardless of setbacks and roadblocks from situations and other people. Everyone has inborn talents and interests and one will be happier if those traits are discovered and adhered to. Being true to yourself is crucial to the development of higher character attributes.
In DTW, protagonist Kaya, a dog who is raised by coyotes, struggles to figure out how to force herself to become a wild canid. But try as she might, she cannot take a life (she’s an Australian Shepherd—a herder whose instinct to kill has been bred out of her breed), and she can’t stay awake for night hunts (she’s a dog, after all). Kaya finds other ways to contribute and finds the value of mother love and sibling companionship.
Her father, however, is an unscrupulous, bullying, meanie who constantly berates her. He nicknames her, “Worthless,” and is incapable of seeing beyond what he sees as her failures. Early on, Kaya recognizes that her father has no morals or integrity. Even if she can’t identify his faults cognitively, she emotionally senses he is not worthy of respect. For a while, she is conflicted—she knows she should revere him as her father, but his lack of admirable characteristics negates any attachment to him or his ways.
Children who live with similar emotional and physical abuse by parents struggle as Kaya does to reconcile society’s push to honor thy father and mother, with the contradictory push to idolize positive role models in the adults around them.
Such children either mimic the cruelty they see and experience—often turning to violent “acting out,” such as animal abuse; or collapse into “learned helplessness” and timidly accept bad treatment; or purposefully seek out alternative guidance and lifestyles opposite of the ones they have been imprisoned in.
Animal abuse usually begins in frustrated, non-verbal, unsupported children in the middle-grade years, when children first discover their own power over those “below” them in the family food chain, which are often pets. Multiple studies have shown that without intervention, animal abuse always escalates into violence against people when these troubled children become adolescents and adults.
By utilizing “first paw” (person) telling, I strive to help young readers see the world through the protagonist dog’s eyes, mind, and heart—thereby tapping into inborn empathy, before the world teaches that child to bury his or her kindness. Having the dogs go through conflicts young human readers may experience first-hand, I hope that my audience can see there are other ways to deal with frustration, trauma, and betrayal. Like Max and Gator, the stars of my other children’s books (see www.sunnyweber.com), Kaya battles her own innate demons. Yet she wants to emulate her courageous and kind coyote mother, and reject her cruel, closed-minded father. I wanted to show children that just because you are born into certain circumstances, you do have choices in whom and what you ultimately become.
Ultimately, Kaya must leave the family she can’t truly belong to and find her own way—utilizing her inborn talents and to learn skills that fit her nature. Just as children grow up and must leave home to strike out on their own, Kaya faces her future—sometimes with courage, sometimes with fear. But she knows there is no home to return to, until she finally finds she is at home within herself.
Theme: Work to find your true self; then be true to yourself. (The Development of Integrity)
1) There are two sides to every story: learning to think analytically is important. Learn to think through what is right or wrong and then stick to what you think is right.
2) Everyone has a “true nature,” although discovering inborn talents and personal interests can be difficult as one grows up, the search for “true self” is worth the struggle.
3) One must have courage to remain true to oneself, despite push-back from authorities, parents, peers, etc. You must beware of leadership/governance/parenting based solely on bullying, propaganda, and overpowering dominance and the other’s desire for control of you.
4) Disabilities can turn into abilities. Do not underestimate yourself or others.
5) That people should EARN your respect, not just expect it, because they are parents, social leaders, work superiors, etc.
Meet the Author:
Sunny Weber has over 25 years of experience in animal welfare advocacy. She is a professional humane educator and believes compelling storytelling reflects her passion for seeing the world through the eyes of the animals she teaches about.
Real stories are Sunny’s key to making deep impressions on young minds, for the future of animal welfare lies in sensitive people who will have the power to alter the negative impacts of previous generations and bring about positive change for all inhabitants of our planet.
Sunny has developed educational programs regarding compassion, respect, and care of domestic and wild animals. She writes extensively on animal issues in fiction, non-fiction, and blogs.
Sunny lives in Colorado with dogs and cats. Their yard is a Certified Backyard Habitat for birds, squirrels, rabbits, pollinators, and any other creature with fur or feathers who wanders in.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Linked-In