Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 14
- Grade: 4 to 9
Jake MacKinnon’s fed up with people not saying what they really mean. When he rescues an old hound dog from the pound on his 12th birthday, he has no idea of the impact she’s about to have on his life. Sandy turns out to be a fairy dogmother, and grants Jake’s greatest wish—to be able to read minds, in particular that of his wannabe singer songwriter father who’s abandoned him and his mom. Jake soon discovers that mind reading isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes, the truth sucks.
About the author
Jan L. Coates is the author of numerous books for young readers, including A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, as well as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her middle grade novels have been finalists for the Ann Connor Brimer Award, the Violet Downey Award, and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award. Sky Pig received the 2017 Lillian Shepherd Award for Illustration and was shortlisted for a Willow Award. She lives, writes, and teaches in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Excerpt: Say What You Mean: Mean What You Say (by (author) Jan L. Coates)
“It’s your dog, Jake,” Mom says, finally. “Your birthday. Your father always had hounds growing up. What do you think?”
Dad turned into “your father” when he took off. Maybe Mom figures a dog will fill the big empty “Dad” spot in the apartment.
Sandy stops howling, then woofs and shoves her big head up in under my armpit. I stare at her messed-up eyes. Her long, floppy ears feel like this old velvet rabbit I used to drag around. Bun-Bun. I left him in the library one day when I was five, but he was gone when we went back to look for him.
I squint at Sandy, then crouch down, blink about ten times and rub my eyes. Did she just give me the wink? And a smile?
I look away, then back. She does it again!