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Spunky Tells All

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Spunky the dog would be happy to share all of his secrets, if only his human family spoke his language. But no matter how hard he tries to talk, it's all "yerf!" to them. Through a series of unfortunate miscommunications, his family decides that Spunky wants a friend--specifically, a cat. Spunky can't imagine anything worse than having to share his family, especially Huey ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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This is the best early chapter book I've read in years. I love the way Spunky's mind works, and how he sees the world, especially his family and the new cat they adopt. Two of my favorite Spunky quotes: "A good Dog can’t help being good. It’s tragic," and "On sad nights, a good Dog will never leave his boy’s face unlicked." I'm going to be pushing this one hard with all my young animal-loving library patrons.
Ardea Smith
Title / Author / Publication Date: Spunky Tells All/Ann Cameron/2011

Genre: Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Plot summary: Called a troublemaker by his human family, a reflective dog defends himself and then relates the family's adoption of an aristocratic but incompetent cat, who gives him a life purpose and and new way of looking at his world.

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory: None.

Review citation: Carter, B. (2011). Spunky Tells All. Horn Book Magazine, 87(6), 95.

Section source used
Tara Strosnider
Spunky Julian and Huey's dog, has a great life. His family takes him for long walks, they feed him his favorite food Nibbles. Every night he sleeps in Huey's blanket cave, even though his family only hears Yerf! when he talks, he can forgive them for that. Then Spunky's family decides to adopt a snobbish disaster prone Balinese cat, Fiona and they misunderstand a really important yerf Spunk saying No!

Love how it's from Spunky's point finally a good book in dogs point of view relationship between
My son's (age 6) review of the book:

"The book is about Spunky and the cat. Spunky is a dog. Fiona is a cat. Spunky doesn’t like cats. Spunky, um, was sniffing the sock and he bit on the sock and he hold it on. And Ralph opened his eyes and tried to get the sock out of Spunky’s mouth. And then he gets twirled around and around and around and around. He gets thrown at the wall. Then they get in the car and go get a cat that they named Fiona. She just says, “Down!” She climbs up a curtain. Spunky
Spunky belongs to the Bates family; Julian, Huey, and their parents. Spunky loves his humans, but he's very aware of the "tragedy" that comes from them not being able to understand dog language. Fortunately for readers, their lack of understanding leads to some very funny situations - including the adpotion of a kitten named Fiona who smells of "foolish."

I am always impressed when an author can create a book for emerging readers that has great language, characters, descriptions and insights. Th
Spunky is the story of a family and their pets as experienced by the title character, a mixed breed dog in the prime of his life. He has a good relationship with his family, and even if they do not understand "dog", he loves them anyways. So, as Spunky explains, he will be telling "almost all." The illustrations in this book simply and charmingly capture the essence of the pets. The cover image of a puzzeled Spunky conveys the heart of the story, which is of a dog attempting to communicate with ...more
"Spunky"'s a wonderful read that would also make a great classroom read-aloud. It's certainly the closest I've ever felt to being inside a dog's head. Cameron uses the beginning-chapters-level vocabulary to give Spunky a voice that's funny, thoughtful, and true.

A few excerpts--

*when Huey, Spunky's boy, can't play with Spunky because of homework:

"What is homework? Why is homework? I do not know. For thousands of years, we Dogs have passed on to new generations the knowledge of how to survive and
Review first posted on LiterariTea

I'm a dog lover, to be sure. We had two mixed breed dogs (aka "mutts") for the first decade (roughly) of our marriage. Then, after an eight month gap, we recently rescued another mixed breed. So, a book like Spunky Tells All, in which a beloved family dog of indeterminate breed is narrating the story... well, it's a given I'll willingly give it a whirl.

It's easy to be cutesy when adopting an animal's "voice" in a book, but Cameron nails it. That is largely what
I read the first few chapters to my 6 year old daughter. It was too boring for me to continue. She said she'd read the next few chapters, because "there has to be some drama eventually". She stopped after a chapter or two more. We could not finish the book. We found it boring.
Very cute story from the point of view of the family dog. It has its funny moments, but it also manages to be poignant at times. Great for young animal lovers (early elementary) who enjoyed The Buddy Files books for its main character, a golden retriever.
Anastasia Tuckness
If a family dog could talk, this book tells what he might say. He would tell you about the great Dog laws, like "never let go" when someone is trying to get socks out of your mouth (even if that someone is swinging you around the room. He would tell you about the family's Food Board, where they eat dinner. And, particularly, he would tell you why adopting a cat to be his friend is NOT a good idea.

Spunky loves his Boy and his family and is fiercely loyal to them, always trying to explain things t
This story is about Spunky the dog and a new animal that gets adopted into the family, Fiona the cat. At first Spunky doesn't like Fiona but by the end of the book they become friends. I thought this story about Spunky the dog is good for teachers who want to teach about narrative writing or using this book as a mentor text for an example "point of view". I would use this book to show 3rd or 4th grade students an example of authors who write books showing a different point of view. In this case, ...more
Amanda Harrison
Spunky tells all is a very cute book about a dog named Spunky who lives with the tragic circumstances of having a family who doesn't understand dog. While students would get enjoyment out of reading this story themselves, they would probably benefit from a teacher-led discussion about some of the concepts, for example when Spunky is contemplating how the universe is arranged.

This book is printed with a little bit bigger font than many books for older children, which would benefit many children.
Kristie Stauffer
I do think young children would like the novelty of this book being written from the dog's perspective. It is a cute children's book.
I enjoyed this easy read. My favorite part was Spunky's narration. I know if our dogs could talk they would sound just like Spunky!
The Styling Librarian
Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron, pictures by Lauren Castillo – I really honestly am baffled. I didn’t realize that Ann Cameron lived in Portland, Oregon until now. I just love her book series. I cued in on this new book from Spunky, a cute dog’s perspective, because it was selected as a Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award nominee. Quite a cute little story, especially when Spunky tried to warn the family about the horrendous choice they are making with their choice to adopt a cat and the chao ...more
Amy Kannel
A decent read-aloud...charming and clever at times.
Susan Kennedy
I was drawn to Spunky's story because it was told from a dog's perspective. I can see this appealing to young intermediate readers and would be useful in perspective lessons in writing. Paired with the author's other stories of Julien and Huey, students could make comparisons regarding POV. I checked this out of my local library, but will look to add this title and others about Julien and Huey to my late 2nd/early third collection.
Sue Poduska
Delightful tale of Spunky and his Humans, this is part of a series. Spunky, a rescued mutt of about five Human years, has found new and different ways to get into trouble. Spunky explains to the reader he was merely trying to teach his boy. The author’s ability to look at the world through the eyes of another being is admirable and spot on. The illustrations are lively and complement the text well.
This book is a fast read and quickly becoming a third grade class favorite. Highlights for me were the clever desciptions of the dining room table and bathroom from the perspective of animals. The book also touches upon changes in family structure and adapting to new additions. Classroom tie-ins could be discussions on perspective in writing, language/vocabulary, and adapting to changes at home.
Very creative children's book showing the perspective of Spunky, the family dog, and his experiences as a misunderstood dog. Because of miscommunication, the family thinks Spunky wants them to get a cat. Although a rough start, Spunky ends up saving the cats life and becoming good friends. I think this would be an excellent book to use when teaching perspective or point of view.
Nov 04, 2011 Marcie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gaylynn Jameson
Recommended to Marcie by: Elizabeth Bird
It's strange that so many of my favorite recent reads are by author's from Portland. I wonder if it has anything to do with Powell's Books? I loved this brief easy read so much, I've decided to have my class read it this next year. It would be nice to pair with Ann Martin's "A Dog's Life" for much more competent readers, but this is lovely for the 1st to 3rd set.
Katie Green
Spunky Tells All was a cute book. It is a little long to read to my first grade students but if I had the time it would be a good book to read and teach my students the importance of caring for other people who might be different from you. We need to give everyone a fair chance because you never know what will happen.
Lissie Moore
This was most certainly a fast read, but not my favorite. While yes, it was cute and would be a fun story to read aloud to maybe 2nd grade, I feel that it is not the best children's book out there. Although it is not my favorite books, 3rd graders would enjoy reading this easy read and developing their reading skills!
What an adorable book. Gave me the idea to set up some fiction 'pet' reads in the nonfic pet section. I plan to read it aloud to my second graders... and to suggest it to a struggling reader in 5th grade. More than a dog story... for those that want to think deeper this dog is a philosopher! Very funny.
Brenda Kahn
What an adorable dog's eye view of living with humans. The pluses? The delicious smells. The minuses? They don't understand dog, so when the Bates misinterpret Spunky's barking, "No cat. No cat. No Cat," as enthusiasm for one, his life is turned upside down.

Great read aloud potential.
Sandy Brehl
Ann Cameron never fails to entertain. Spunky not only amuses but reveals his complex internal concerns in ways that should make a dog-lover out of those few who are not. Excellent choice as mentor text for voice/point-of-view.
The story is told from the perspective of the Bates' family dog and his reaction to the family deciding to get a new pet cat. It's hilarious! This story is actually part of the Huey series.
Brittany Curbello
This was cute.. I thought it would be better just because I love dogs so much and always want to know what mine are thinking, but it was cute. I would recommend it for 3rd -5th maybe.
Read this to my 6-year-old. He liked it enough for me to finish it, but he never begged for more the way he did with the other Julian, Huey, and Gloria books.
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Ann Cameron grew up in Wisconsin. Today, she and her husband live in Guatemala. From her house she can see a waterfall and three volcanoes. Ann Cameron has been a teacher and an editor as well as a writer.

She says that writing is hardest for her at the beginning of a book. To get started, she follows this important rule for writing: "Apply seat of pants to bottom of chair."
More about Ann Cameron...
The Stories Julian Tells The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods The Most Beautiful Place in the World Colibri More Stories Julian Tells

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