Maxi’s Secrets (or, what you can learn from a dog)
by Lynn Plourde
Being new isn’t easy, but for Timminy it’s extra hard: he’s smaller than any other kid in his grade and his dad is the new assistant principal at his school. The one good thing about his family’s move is Maxi, the Great Pyrenees puppy that his parents let him get. When Timminy realizes that Maxi is deaf, he decides to do whatever he can to help his active new puppy. Maxi, with her entertaining personality, also helps Timminy make new friends as well as breaks the ice between him and one of his bullies. Just as things seem to be getting better, however, Timminy and his family receive news about their beloved dog that will change everything.
I’m a big fan of Lynn Plourde (she has visited my schools in the past and was awesome) and was so excited to read her first novel! It took me two tries to read this book, not because it wasn’t great but because I first started reading it shortly after I learned my older dog had cancer. Spoiler alert: our narrator Timminy clearly states on the first page that this is a book where the dog will die. Due to my highly emotional state, I decided to wait on reading this book!
A few days ago, I decided I was ready for Maxi’s Secrets. While the death of Maxi is part of the story, the bulk of this wonderful book is about Timminy and how this beautiful dog helps him adjust to changes. It’s a story about not feeling sorry for oneself, especially as Timminy meets other friends, including a blind neighbor, with challenges of their own.
This is a book that will likely bring tears to many readers at the end. Fresh off the loss of my own dog, I was ready with plenty of tissues as I finished this book yesterday.
Each chapter concludes with a secret. Some of my favorites are:
Secret #22: It’s better to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do.
Secret #42: You may not have to look very far to find more than what you were looking for.
I’m planning to create a bulletin board devoted to this book, using some of the the different “secrets” to help motivate and inspire my students.