Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wild Times at the Bed & Biscuit

Carris, J. (2009). Wild Times at the Bed & Biscuit. York, PA: Candlewick Press.
This book is a 2011 Texas Bluebonnet nominee.

Exposition: The story begins with some injured animals being brought from a wildlife center to the home/office of a veterinarian (Grampa) and the pets that reside there trying to "help." The pets include a pig, a mynah bird, a cat and a puppy.  These characters talk to each other throughout the book.
Conflict: The house pets attempt to help the wild animals (a goose, a muskrat, and two fox kits) adjust to living at the home.  The wild animals are miserable being cooped up in cages, but all of them need some type of medical attention.
Rising Action: Sir Walter, the puppy, recognizes that he is similar to the foxes and tries to befriend them.  They are not accepting and try to talk all the other animals into opening their cage so that they can leave.  Unfortunately, they are too young to be out on their own.
Climax: Ernest, the pig, is trying to take care of everything including, in his mind, raising Sir Walter, the puppy. Sir Walter is very mischievous and continues to give Ernest all kinds of trouble.  He is the one the kits continually ask to let them out of their cage.
Falling Action: Sir Walter lets the kits out of their cage and runs off with them.  Everyone is very worried about him.  The goose and the muskrat continue to stay in their cages and heal, even though they are not very happy.
Resolution: Ernest leads everyone on a hunt to find Sir Walter.  They find him, but not the kits.  The goose heals enough to be released back into the wild and is very happy to find his mate. The muskrat is getting better each day and will soon be given back to the wildlife center. The animals are all happy to have their normal lives back.

With the animal characters having human characteristics (such as the ability to speak), we are given unexpected insight into their world.  When a new pet comes into a home, the existing pets treat it with some degree of distance until they get to know each other.  As humans, we just have to guess how they are feeling, but the author gives us an idea through the animals' conversations. Therefore, the dialogue gave us a better idea of the characters and their feelings throughout the story.

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