I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch

Albert Whitman. (A Dog’s Day). Apr. 2020. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780807516638.
Gr 1-3–Canine lovers rejoice. This dog day-in-the-life series debuts with the tale of Jax, a Great Pyrenees living on a Texas ranch. Told in first-person perspective, the reader learns how Jax was raised to keep sheep safe. Jax works with Sweep, a border collie who herds during the day but sleeps inside at night; Bev, an Anatolian Shepherd; and young pup Stormy, who is still in training. Human rancher Gail is the kindly overseer of life on the farm. When Bev gets injured protecting the sheep from coyotes and Gail takes her to the vet, Jax and Stormy are left alone to protect the flock on a night with a full moon, which all animals know is never dull! Tension builds when unexpected predators roam too close to the sheep. Stier’s simple but informed descriptions are entertaining and educational, providing an age-appropriate exploration of the delicate balance between predators and farm animals. An appendix dives deeper into the history of livestock guardian dogs. Rosa’s illustrations add to the story by showing the unique facial expressions of the animals and the picturesque expanse of a southwestern ranch.
VERDICT Give to all animal-loving readers looking for an early chapter book series to get into.

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