My dogs have taught me more than I could ever imagine.
I have learned what unconditional love truly means, how to be brave, and that I'm stronger than I think.
I have also learned to take time to relax, not dwell on the little things, that it's okay to be silly, and most importantly, to live in the present.
The lessons, or secrets, are just some of the reasons why I couldn't wait to share Maxi's Secrets, a new middle-grade novel, with you.
Secret #1: You can learn a lot from a dog you love.
Disclosure: Penguin Random House sent a copy of Maxi's Secrets to Lapdog Creations, free of charge, for review purposes, as well as a second copy for the giveaway. I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers, and all opinions expressed are my own. If you click through the Amazon link and place an order, I may receive a very small commission from the sale. This in no way affects your cost.
Set in small-town Maine, Maxi's Secrets is a heartfelt story about a large, lovable dog who changes the life of a loudmouth, little boy while divulging just how many secrets the animals we love can reveal to us about being human.
The story is about an often bullied boy named Timminy who moves to a new town just in time to begin middle school. After the move, his family adopts Maxi, a gentle giant who the family quickly discovers is deaf.
Timminy is determined to help Maxi get through life and be her rock, yet when the going gets rough, Maxi ends up being the one there to be strong and help Timminy - along with their neighbor Abby, who never lets her blindness define her.
Maxi's Secrets is a wonderful story that teaches us that there's more to everyone than what's on the surface - whether it's Abby, Maxi, or Timminy himself. And while the book was written for middle-grade aged children, it's certainly one that folks of all ages will truly enjoy. Pick up a copy today and learn just what Maxi's Secrets are.
Oh, and if you think I'm crazy about the secrets and lessons I have learned from my dogs, I would have to guess that you've never loved a dog.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Let’s get this part over with—it’s NO secret.
My dog Maxi dies.
Just like Old Yeller, Sounder, Old Dan, and Little Ann all died. Except those dogs were fiction. You cried, I cried when fake dogs died. Maxi was real.
So real, I can still sniff and get a whiff of her stinky dog breath—even though she’s been gone for forty-one days now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t vacuumed a single strand of the white fur coat she left behind. And when your dog is a giant, that’s enough fur to cover a baby polar bear. Her dried dog slobber is everywhere too—like a hundred tattoos she branded my room with so I wouldn’t forget her
NO WAY I’d forget her.
I swear some nights I still hear Maxi nudging my bedroom door coming in to check on me after checking the rest of the house. With her guard duties done, she can plop down on my mattress. My mattress that’s still on the floor because she couldn’t climb up in bed with me anymore so I moved it down to her level.
But when I wake confused and open the door to let her in, there’s just EMPTINESS. Emptiness that I rush to shut out, but I can’t. Emptiness slips under the covers with me. Emptiness is cold, not dog-warm. Emptiness is silent, not dog-snoring. Emptiness stinks worse than a dog’s breath. Emptiness stinks so bad it can suffocate you.
But you can’t let it.
When I start to breathe again, I realize HAVING Maxi in my life will always be a bigger deal than losing Maxi. Her tail still thumps-thumps-thumps in my heart.
And that crazy dog taught me so much. You won’t believe all the secrets she shared with me. Plus some other secrets she helped me dig up, deeper than buried bones, inside myself. And sniff out still more secrets from others.
Except, they’re NOT secrets anymore since I’m telling you. That’s okay cause Maxi would want you to know. She’d bark them to the world if she could.
If she were still here.
You can learn a lot from a dog you love.
About the Author: Lynn Plourde, a former speech-language therapist who worked in public schools for 21 years, is the author of 29 picture books. Maxis' Secrets is her debut middle-grade novel. Lynn enjoys spending time in the great outdoors of Maine, where she was born and raised.
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