Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 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 started writing for young readers in 2000. She went to Acadia University and now works as a teacher as well as giving school writing workshops through the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia. She is the author of several books for young readers including Rainbows in the Dark and the critically acclaimed A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk.
She lives with her family 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!