Our Summer of New Releases is beginning to wind down, but we still have some fabulous books coming out from now through October and The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is really something special. Written AND illustrated by Rita Monette, this first installment in the Nikki Landry Swamp Legend Series is targeted to readers in the middle grade age category, but is well-written enough to be enjoyed by all. Set in the Louisiana Bayou in the fifties, 10-year-old Nikki Landry recounts in her own words the story of the time she lost her dog to the mysterious and spooky Ghost Dog Island and what she did to try and get him back. Rich with beautiful descriptions, hand-drawn illustrations, and dripping with Cajun flair, Rita Monette’s The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is sure to impress!
Behind every legend lies the truth…
Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.
Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs…which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He should know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps…But maybe there’s something Papa doesn’t know.
Nikki and her new friends begin to uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend…and town folks aren’t talking.
Then her beloved beagle goes missing.
Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.
Title: The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Author Name: Rita Monette
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery
Tags: Adventure, mystery, middle grade, louisiana, bayou, dogs
Length: Approx. 204 pages
Re-Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
“I’m going to hate Morgan City,” I complained to my dog Snooper, “no matter what Papa says.”
My beagle laid his head on my lap and gazed up at me with his watery eyes. He pretty much agreed with me on everything.
I sat on the deck of our old flat-bottomed houseboat as it glided through the winding bayous. Papa’s fishing boat, filled with baskets of line and crab crates, trailed behind on its rope. We were leaving Pierre Part…Lydia…far behind. I rolled the legs of my overalls up and dangled my feet over the edge.
“Nicole Landry, keep your feet out of that filthy water,” Mama hollered from the doorway of the small living area of our floating home. She wiped her hands on her stained apron, then fixed the comb that held her long dark hair in a pile on top of her head. Mama was born and raised in New Orleans, but left the big city for a life in the bayous with Papa. She never looked back. At least that’s what she always told folks.
“They ain’t in the water, Mama.” I held my legs up so she could see they were dry.
She opened the patched screened door and shooed a fly out, before closing it and going back inside.
I twirled the end of my long black braid. Moving to a new place always gave me a lump in my throat as big as a bullfrog. But I wasn’t going to cry this time. I was ten years old after all.
I’d lived in that same house since the day I was born—as Mama always tells it, “the coldest morn’ of 1946.” But I couldn’t rightly recall how many times it got tied up to a new dock. Mama liked to say Papa never let the grass grow under his feet. But I could hardly think of a time when his rubber boots ever touched grass.
Papa grew up in Morgan City, and he said folks there were mighty friendly. But it seemed to me, most city dwellers weren’t too welcoming to my kind, being from the wrong side of the levee and all. And the city was where I’d have to go to school.
“And, as for making friends with any kids there, no way.” I shook my finger in Snoop’s face. “Just to up and leave ’em behind anyway.”
He managed a tiny whimper, as if I was fussing at him.
I thought about Lydia standing on the Belle River Bridge waving goodbye. My eyes burned, and I squeezed ’em shut. I felt in my pocket for her note. I’d read it at least a hundred times since she’d handed it to me, right before I went stomping down the ladder from her tree house. She’d scribbled down her post office box address and “write me,” then signed her name with the little heart over the i like she always did.
“Hmph!” I told Snooper. “She’s crazy if she thinks I’m gonna write her after what she did.”
Lydia Hebert was my best friend in the whole world…until yesterday. It was a lot easier to leave while I was still mad at her. But now it felt like an empty hole inside me.
Where to purchase:
Mirror World Publishing Links:
Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state.
Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father—who made his living in those bayous—of reasons to stay out of the swamp.
She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that make their habitat on the Cumberland Plateau, working in the garden, and frequenting waterfalls.
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