Bad Bella

Bad Bella
Age Range
Release Date
September 24, 2019
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Bella is the very best dog a family could ask for. Only her family, the McBrides, don’t see it that way.

Ever since Mrs. McBride’s belly started growing, they don’t seem to appreciate the way Bella cleans the crumbs from the kitchen floor or how she’s always willing to play fetch after a long day. And when Bella’s valiant attempt to save the Christmas tree ends in disaster, she finds herself being swiftly abandoned at the pound.

As the reality sinks in that she is unwanted, Bella is heartbroken. Where did she go wrong?

Things look bleak until a kind couple, the Roses, take Bella in. Her new life is filled with wonderful things like parks and snowballs, vanilla ice cream, and the National Geographic Channel. But as the weather turns cold again, the Roses start acting strangely and Bella wonders if she can really trust them. Do they actually love her, or is history about to repeat itself?

And will Bella be able to find a true home in time for Christmas this year?

Editor review

1 review
Bad humans!
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Bella lives with the McBrides, who have several small children and often forget Bella's needs. She gets in trouble for things like trying to water the Christmas tree by peeing in the holder, and for knocking the tree down while trying to get her favorite snack (popcorn) off the tree. With another child on the way, the McBrides can't deal with "bad" Bella, and take her to a shelter. There, Bella is disabused of her notion that the McBrides are her parents and she is their child by another dog who informs her that she has owners who care mainly for their own convenience. When she is adopted by a young couple, the Roses, Bella finally gets the attention she deserves, but is always wary. When the couple is expecting a baby, Bella misunderstands some of their remarks and thinks she is going to be abandoned again, so she runs away. Eventually, she is able to make it home and learn that her forever family is not going to abandon her.
Good Points
It's sweet that Standish based this book on her own dog, and I enjoyed that she tries to make readers understand that "bad" behavior often has very good reasons if you understand the roots of it. This can be extrapolated to the behavior of people as well! I also like that the Roses modeled proper pet owning behavior and give Bella such a good life! It's important that young readers understand that it's not enough just to own a dog, or even to love it. You need to take care of a dog and do the things that are best for the dog, not for you! I will say that Sylvie (my dog) now wants to know why she doesn't get ice cream every night! (Answer-- she has arthritis in her hip and must keep her weight down!)

Dog books are are popular with young readers, and this was a sweet story. This is a good choice for fans of Ellen Miles' Puppy Place series, Cameron's A Dog's Life Puppy Tales and Klimo's Dog Diaries.
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