Sunday, May 06, 2007

Book Report/Basset

I'm reporting on a couple of kids' books this time around. The boys' elementary school just had their semi-annual book fair, and Robbie brought home two books which he promptly devoured.

The first is Ferno: The Fire Dragon, the first book in the BeastQuest series. Robbie liked it a good deal, and is intending to look for the next one. It's not the best of this kind of book by a long shot, though. You know the wish fulfillment is running heavy when even your eight-year-old finishes a chapter (wherein the 11-year-old protagonist is chosen by the king to save the kingdom from a fire-breathing dragon), looks up and says "But Mommy, he's never trained with a sword!" There were several such moments in the book. Plus the foreshadowing was running heavy. As in being dropped on by a backhoe. I'm 90%+ certain I have the surprise ending of the series figured out. I figured it out in chapter three. That's a bad sign. I guess my final say on this one is: for what it is, it's a decent read for a kid, but it makes me think of the Opus's line "Foreshadowing: your guide to quality literature."

The second book fared much better. The Sea of Monsters is the second book in the adventures of Percy(Perseus) Jackson, half-blood son of Poseiden and a mortal woman. Set in the modern day, where the Greek Gods have followed the heart of Western civilization and come to America (the Empire State Building is now Mt. Olympus). I won't say too much because this is one of those books that makes little sense by description unless the listener is already familiar with the world. Nonetheless, this book is entertaining enough for me to sneak off and read it on my own. It also stands alone pretty well, though both Robbie and I intend to find the first book (The Lightening Thief) and read it ASAP.

And finally, the Basset. We spent an entertaining night (midnight to 3am) at an emergency vet clinic when we discovered about bedtime that Nicky couldn't get up. His forelegs had no muscle tone. They couldn't support his weight. He'd thrown up a couple of times in the afternoon, which we attributed to a morning garbage raid, but otherwise he'd been behaving normally. The vet was puzzled. He showed no paralysis, just muscle weakness. The X-rays showed no problems with his spine, and were equivocal about his front legs - puppy rickets have left them short and twisted even by basset standards, so their hard to read. She decided evetually that he must have strained them with the vomiting, gave us a painkiller and told us to rest him.

By this morning, Nicky's hind legs weren't working either. Since he seemed in no other distress, breathing well, not in any discernable pain, cheerful, we put him out on the lawn with water, so he wouldn't have to move at all, and kept an eye on him. We seem to have made the right call. After sleeping the whole morning away, Nicky was able to get his forelegs under him for just a few seconds somewhere around 2pm. By dinner time, he was able to stand up for about ten seconds. We still have no clue what hit him, be it infection or some kind of toxin, but at this rate of recovery, he should be back to normal in another day or so. I wish I could have saved the nearly $500 the vet visit cost, but we couldn't take the chance that he'd injured his spine or gotten into something that needed immediate treatment (like anti-freeze, which needs very rapid treatment, and presents in much this way). Sigh. That's what emergency funds are for anyway.

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