Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston

45489367Lynn: Here is a book that is sure to delight your animal-loving teens. Bulu: African Wonder Dog (Random, May 2010) is an unusual book – a nonfiction of the style more often written for adult audiences with text that doesn’t pull any punches. Author Dick Houston, first met Bulu and his people, Anna and Steve Tolan, in Zambia in the course of his work as president of Elefence International, an elephant conservation group. Over the years he became friends with the Tolans and fell in love with the spirited Bulu – and readers will too. Bulu lived for 9 action-packed years and Houston writes about the first few years of this extraordinary little dog’s life.

The Tolans are retired policemen and their dream was to live in Africa and establish a wildlife education and animal rescue center. Shortly after their arrival they were offered the lone remaining Jack Russell terrier puppy born at a crocodile farm. Domestic pets usually have short lives in Africa – falling prey to the many predators and/or diseases. In spite of this, the Tolans took the quiet puppy home. Naming him Bulu, the Nyanja word for wild dog, the Tolans quickly discovered the immense spirit and courageous heart of the little puppy. Bulu immediately assumed personal responsibility for all the inhabitants of the Tolans’ center – humans and rescued animals alike – nurturing and protecting them with fierce determination. Bulu’s courage was giant-sized and he bravely took on all threats – lions, elephants and spitting cobras alike. Something of an escape artist, he thwarted all attempts to keep him inside and his wanderings often took him into danger. Bulu lived a joyous adventurous life and his story is truly remarkable.

Houston writes about the nature of Africa as it really is. While there is much humor and fun here, this is no pretty Disneyfied cartoon and I am really excited to find a book that respects teens and their knowledge and understanding as much as this one does.

nonfictionmonday1Thank you to Shelf Employed for hosting Nonfiction Monday.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

6 Comments on "Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston"

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  1. I love this book it’s amazing but don’t give more away because i’m not finished yet.

  2. madeline.snyder@sbcglobal.net' maddie says:

    I am now finished I like how it doesn’t give a detailed chapter about the dogs death i hate it when people do that. give long chapters even though you can’t stop reading it

  3. pupeezluvme@comcast.net' Reanna says:

    This is the best book in the world!!!! I wish I could’ve seen Bulu in real life that would be awesome!!I feel bad that he died but I’m sure he was a good dog!I hope someday I can meet the Tolans.
    Thank you Tolans for letting Dick Houston (my new favorite writer!) write a book about Bulu!
    BULU RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. dcoleman16@roadrunner.com' Debbie says:

    It was a book I couldn’t put down. The emotions came out so I needed a quiet secluded place to read this book. It was a very moving book, that I would recommend to others.

  5. lisarice63@gmail.com' Lisa & Ben says:

    My 10 year old son and I read Bulu together. It was well written and we recommend it all the time. It’s still one of our favorite books along with Dewy the Library Cat. We would love more suggestions of books that are like these non-fiction and inspiring stories of animals.

  6. Lisa, have you seen Stubby the War Dog? Check out our April ’14 post for Ann Bausum’s book. I think you and your son will appreciate it. http://bookends.booklistonline.com/2014/04/21/stubby-the-war-dog-by-ann-bausum/

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