Guild Member Joan Carris is excited to announce that the second book in the Bed and Biscuit series is now available – Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit, published by Candlewick Press. Like its predecessor - Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit – Wild Times is illustrated by Noah Z. Jones.
Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit has now been included on the list of Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2009: "The next installment in the quiet exploits of the best fictional vet around. Grampa Bender rescues wild creatures from a cranky muskrat to a wounded Canada goose, nursing them back to health at his animal boardinghouse. A clever chapter book for elementary-school ages or an admirable read-aloud for pre-school children."
Grandpa Adam Bender, a retired vet, counts on his diverse family for help in running his animal-boarding business. Gabby, an elderly mynah bird with a sharp tongue, is the oldest. Milly, a possessive teenage pussycat is the youngest. In between is Ernest, a practical three-year-old mini-pig who helps with heavy-duty chores, rallies the family in times of stress, and lives to teach others.
Now add a wounded Canada goose, a cranky muskrat with an infected foot, and two starving fox kits. Grampa Bender needs the help of his wise mini-pig, Ernest, and his sassy mynah bird, Gabby. The puppy, Sir Walter the Scottie, and Milly, a teenaged pussycat, round out the cast of critters who star in a funny, touching story about the differences between wild and tame.
Praise for Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit
“Part James Herriot, and part Dick King-Smith, this endearing sequel to Welcome to the Bed & Biscuit (Candlewick, 2006) explores the intricate connection between wild and domesticated animals with a trim plot attached. The wildlife shelter is having some new pens built, so veterinarian Grandpa Bender is enlisted to take in a Canada goose with an arrow through its neck, a muskrat with an infected foot, and a pair of orphaned fox kits. The narrator and main character is a mini-pig named Ernest, who tries to watch the other animals that reside with the vet: a Vietnamese hill mynah, a Maine coon cat, and a Scottie pup. The animals all communicate with each other, and the bird actually speaks to humans as well. The charming black-and-white illustrations are reminiscent of Garth Williams's work. This story's messages speak to children's interest in wild animals. The dominant theme involves a kindly veterinarian successfully rehabilitating animals and releasing them to the wild. A secondary theme speaks to the responsibility of hunters to bag their prey, not leaving wounded animals to die slowly. And a subtle plotline addresses the relationship of dogs to their wild cousins, the foxes. The story unfolds without preaching, but aptly hits on these issues. It would make a great read-aloud for the primary grades and is sure to be a hit with competent easy-chapter-book readers.
—Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI School Library Journal
Joan Carris has published more than a dozen books for children. She also teaches graduate-level writing at Duke University. She lives in Beaufort, North Carolina.