From Wild to Mild ~ Review with Guest Post and Giveaway

From Wild to Mild
A Dog in Two Worlds
By Sunny Weber

As a young puppy Kaya was stolen away from her home by a coyote named Maka who intends for this small defenseless puppy to be a meal. Fortunately for Kaya, Maka's mate Taina refuses to allow a puppy so similar to her own young ones to be a meal.

For two years Kaya lives as a coyote, but she is unable to kill to the disgust of Maka. But her new mother Taina encourages her to be true to who she is and not bow to the criticism and threats of Maka. With her friendship with her coyote brother (Gopher) and sister (Flower) Kaya has a home though she knows in her heart she doesn't truly fit in.

When Kaya falls prey to the feared humans, she is sure that they will soon kill her. But instead, she is offered kindness and love. When Kaya is eventually taken into a home she is also given a job - help guard the ranch and its residents from danger. Will Kaya soon have to protect her new family and home from her old family?

From Wild to Mild is told in two parts as Kaya moves from the world of dogs and humans to that of coyotes and wilderness and back again. Neither change is easy and Kaya is left missing what she has lost both times. Can someone who has lost everything they've known twice find a place that is their forever sense of belonging?

This is a good read that should appeal to kids who've embraced the world of chapter books and love animals. Though this book is aimed at middle-grade readers it isn't too juvenile for older readers to enjoy as well. I have to admit I really enjoyed this book and read it within a few hours.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the author with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Book Title:  From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds by Sunny Weber
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 196 pages
Genre:  animals/pets
Publisher Pups and Purrs Press
Release date:   August 23, 2019
Content Rating: G

"Sunny Weber takes readers on a remarkable journey between two worlds as we follow the puppy, Kaya, struggle to live and grow with a family of coyotes, and then experience returning to her role as a dog living with people. In addition to exciting adventures, challenges, and drama experienced by Kaya, we also learn about the differences between the animals, and their very different relationships to people. As a biologist that works with coyotes and dogs, I appreciate the creative way Sunny distinguishes the two animals in such an engaging story. Highly recommended for young readers interested in dogs, coyotes, and the world through their eyes."
Stanley D. Gehrt
Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Extension Wildlife Specialist
School of Environment and Natural Resources
Ohio State University

"What a beautiful, heartwarming book!  Sunny incorporates the stories of abused and neglected farmed animals to bring attention to their plight. Sunny does a wonderful job of telling the story of Kaya, a caring and compassionate dog who is forced to confront her values and make difficult decisions to follow her heart or to fit in. Kaya teaches us to have empathy for all animals, regardless of their species."
Chrissy Dinardo
Development Director
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary
Erie, CO
Book Description:

Eight-week-old Australian Shepherd Kaya is kidnapped by a nasty coyote to be food for his mate and puppies. Instead, the loving mother raises Kaya with her own pups. But as hard as she tries, Kaya can’t completely fit in—she can’t kill prey or stay awake for night hunts. Why can’t she make herself a true coyote? Constantly criticized by her coyote father, Kaya finds support in her new mother and siblings. She also figures out how to contribute through teamwork with her brother and sister. Trapped by a dog rescue, Kaya re-enters the human world and learns the differences between how dogs and coyotes live. When freed to roam again, does she return to her forest freedom—or remain with her farm family? Can Kaya forever straddle between the Wild and the Mild?
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Meet the Author:

Sunny Weber has over 25 years of experience in animal welfare advocacy. She is a professional humane educator and believes compelling storytelling reflects her passion for seeing the world through the eyes of the animals she teaches about.

Real stories are Sunny’s key to making deep impressions on young minds, for the future of animal welfare lies in sensitive people who will have the power to alter the negative impacts of previous generations and bring about positive change for all inhabitants of our planet.

Sunny has developed educational programs regarding compassion, respect, and care of domestic and wild animals. She writes extensively on animal issues in fiction, non-fiction, and blogs.

Sunny lives in Colorado with dogs and cats. Their yard is a Certified Backyard Habitat for birds, squirrels, rabbits, pollinators, and any other creature with fur or feathers who wanders in.

Connect with the author:    Website Twitter ~ Facebook ~ LinkedIn

Guest Post:
Why I Wrote the Pups and Purrs Children’s Humane Education Series
By Sunny Weber

Coming-of-age books try to address emotional and social challenges that all children face, beginning in the so-called “middle-grade” years (8-14). Children are buffeted in
overwhelming directions during their formative years. There are so many options and
expectations from society that often children founder in trying to discern how grow up to be the best they can be.

Despite supportive adults, some children learn to bury their insecurities under an inability to articulate discomfort. Children with unsupportive or absent adult leadership are even more hindered.

Children mimic the kindness or the cruelty they see and experience. In the case of the latter, they often turn to violent “acting out,” such as animal abuse. Animal abuse usually begins in frustrated, non-verbal, unsupported children in the middle-grade years. Around this time children first discover their own power over those “below” them in the family food chain, which are often pets. Multiple studies have shown that without intervention, animal abuse always escalates into violence against people when these troubled children become adolescents and adults.

My goal with the Pups and Purrs Humane Education Series is to provide fictional animal friends who experience what children do, such as bullying, ridicule, rejection, insecurity, and the universal seeking of acceptance.

By utilizing “first pup” (person) telling, I strive to help young readers see the world through the protagonist dog’s eyes, mind, and heart—thereby tapping into inborn empathy, before the world teaches that child to bury his or her kindness. Having the dogs go through conflicts young human readers may experience first-hand, I hope that my audience can see there are other ways to deal with frustration, trauma, and betrayal.

Finding your true self is difficult work, even as an adult, and beginning on the journey of self-discovery as an emotionally developing young person can be daunting. Challenges include decision making, taking responsibility for self, and dealing with the consequences of one’s own actions. These are crucial stepping stones to developing personal integrity.

I wrote my books to utilize themes addressing the myriad issues that children face as they bump into adulthood amidst the noise of events in their lives.

In my first book, The Dog at the Gate: How a Throwaway Dog Becomes Special,
protagonist Max is raised in neglect and cruelty. Isolated in a backyard, with only his blackbird friend to tell him about the outside world, Max tries to live vicariously with his ally’s advice. The only kindness he experiences is with his little boy, who is also neglected and abused—and unfortunately unable to be much company.

Max must decide what kind of grown-up dog he will become—aggressive and mean (as he’s been treated), or to seek out the love and acceptance he yearns for. Then he must set goals to accomplish his search, take responsibility for his decisions (both good and bad), and voluntarily reach out for help. Even after he finds success in a new life, he doubts his self-worth. When he faces an ultimate challenge, Max finds the courage to accept—himself as well as his next journey.

In Hurricane Dog: A Tale of Betrayal, Redemption and Change, main character
Gator is raised in kindness. With his beloved boy by his side, they save a puppy mill survivor with no name. They call her Magnolia, and the little dog blooms from hopeless to hopeful. At the same time, Gator descends into cynicism and bitterness, after both dogs are left during a Louisiana hurricane. Gator and Magnolia cling to each other through starvation, chaos, relocation, and emotional turmoil.

When faced with his nemesis, Gator must decide to either remain untrusting and angry, or to forgive and empathize with his perceived betrayer. The relationship between the boy Gavin and his puppy Gator spans into adulthood for each. Their bond eventually causes historically true changes in Federal Law regarding the rescue of pets and their people during natural disasters—illustrating that even seemingly insignificant boys and puppies can influence the world.

The third book of the series, From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds, centers on the
main theme of the importance of searching for your true self. Everyone has inborn talents and interests and one will be happier if those traits are discovered and adhered to. Being true to yourself is crucial to the development of higher character attributes.

Kaya, a dog who is raised by coyotes, struggles to force herself to become a wild canid. But try as she might, she cannot take a life, and she can’t stay awake for night hunts. Kaya finds other ways to contribute and discovers the value of mother love and sibling companionship.

Her father, however, is an unscrupulous, bullying meanie who constantly berates her. He is incapable of seeing beyond what he sees as her failures. Early on, Kaya recognizes that her father has no morals or integrity. For a while, she is conflicted—she knows she should revere him as her father, but his lack of admirable characteristics negates any attachment to him or his ways. She knows she must go—to find her true calling and a place where she is accepted for whom and what she naturally is.

Max, Gator, and Kaya battle their own innate demons. I wanted to show children that just because you are born into certain circumstances, you do have choices in whom and what you ultimately become.

All children must leave their primary family and find their own ways—utilizing inborn talents and learning skills that fit their natures. Just as children grow up and must leave home to strike out on their own, Max, Gator, and Kaya face their futures—sometimes with courage, sometimes with trepidation. But they know there is no home to return to, until they finally find they are at home within themselves.

Theme: Work to find your true self; then be true to yourself. 
(The Development of Integrity)

Messages: 1) There are two sides to every story: learning to think analytically is
important. Learn to think through what is right or wrong and then stick to what you
think is right.

2) Everyone has a “true nature,” although discovering inborn talents and personal
interests can be difficult as one grows up, the search for “true self” is worth the

3) One must have courage to remain true to oneself, despite push-back from
authorities, parents, peers, etc. You must beware of leadership/governance/parenting
based solely on bullying, propaganda, and overpowering dominance and the other’s
desire for control of you.

4) Disabilities can turn into abilities. Do not underestimate yourself or others.

5) That people should EARN your respect, not just expect it, because they are parents,
social leaders, work superiors, etc.

Book Tour Schedule:

Nov 11 – ROCKIN' Book Reviews – book review From Wild to Mild / guest post / giveaway
Nov 12 –  My Journey Back – book review The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 13 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – book review The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 13 - Blooming with Books – book review Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 14 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of From Wild to Mild / giveaway
Nov 15 - Svetlana's reads and views – book review From Wild to Mild
Nov 15 - Rosepoint Publishing – book review From Wild to Mild
Nov 15 – Jypsylynn – book review The Dog at the Gate
Nov 18 – My Journey Back – book review Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 18 - ROCKIN' Book Reviews – book review Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 19 – FUONLYKNEW – book review The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 19 - Blooming with Books – book review From Wild to Mild / guest post / giveaway
Nov 20 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – book review Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 20 - ROCKIN' Book Reviews – book review The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 21 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 21 - Svetlana's reads and views – book review Hurricane Dog
Nov 21 - Books for Books – book review The Dog at the Gate
Nov 22 – Jypsylynn – book review of Hurricane Dog
Nov 22 - FUONLYKNEW – book review of Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 25 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of Hurricane Dog / giveaway
Nov 25 - Blooming with Books – book review The Dog at the Gate / giveaway
Nov 26 – FUONLYKNEW – book review of From Wild to Mild / giveaway
Nov 26 - Books for Books – book review Hurricane Dog
Nov 27 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – book review From Wild to Mild / giveaway
Nov 27 - Svetlana's reads and views – book review The Dog at the Gate
Nov 28 – My Journey Back – book review From Wild to Mild / giveaway
Nov 29 - Jypsylynn – book review of From Wild to Mild
Dec 2 - Books for Books – book review From Wild to Mild
Dec 2 - Mystery Suspense Reviews – book review of From Wild to Mild

Enter the Giveaway:

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this great series and interesting guest post!


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~ Blooming with Books