Ana and Calvin's relationship is also charming. They bond over the dogs and are good friends; they hang out together AND are academically competitive. Ana is intrigued by how smart Calvin is, but also fears that he will give her a run for her money when it comes to being tops in the class and winning the Crown Point Prize. Ana likes Calvin, but she REALLY wants to win the prize and go to computer camp. I'm old enough to remember when girls were told that they couldn't be smarter or better athletes than boys, and it's a relief that none of that attitude is in evidence here! Calvin is very sweet, even after he finds out about Ana's lies, and both children approach the relationship with respect and mutual understanding.
The dog story will appeal to many readers who like this author's Sit, Stay, Love as well as Margolis' Boys Are Dogs, Greenwald's Welcome to Dog Beach, Stewart's Fetching, and Krulik's Puppy Love. As society moves away from agrarian roots, I think that dog books are becoming the new horse books for tween girls, since more of them have access to dogs.