Dear Bill Wallace,
My name is Danner Wilhelm, I am in tenth grader at Wilton High School in Wilton, Iowa. I've personally never been much of a reader myself but I remember a time when I was 7 or 8 and my mom introduced a book to me about a dog who saves his owner, Adam. This book made an impact on me and every sentence kept me interested. It was one of the only books that I read on my own at this age. I had never been so caught up in a book before, I was hooked! I even read it more then once. The book was titled "Red Dog".
My parents tried to get me to read books like "Little House on the Prairie", "Shilo", and "The Hatchet". I made attempts to read a few of them but would only skim the words in every paragraph. When my parents asked me what I had read, I could make up a response that they would find acceptable and somewhat believable. Books bored me and just couldn't keep my attention or interest.
On one Easter morning, I got a little pink basket filled with goodies and a book, and every Easter since I can remember I would get a new book. I can't remember the book my brother got that year but I got "Red Dog". I figured that it was going to be like every other book my parents had given me to read and that it would eventually end up somewhere under my bed or shoved behind the dresser. My mom told me to give it a chance and read a few chapters until I decided if I would like it or not. Before I knew it I was caught up in the story, I loved it!
I read many of your books including "A Dog Called Kitty", "The Backwards Bird Dog", "No Dogs Allowed!", and probably my most favorite of them all, "Upchuck and the Rotten Willy". Every trip to the library I was eager for a new book, and every car ride I took one along, every night I would read a little more before lights out. It didn't matter where I was or what time of day it was, I couldn't get enough.
I remember one afternoon when I was sitting on my bed and reading in my room, I began to cry when Tom, the cat from "Upchuck and the Rotten Willy" moved away and two mean poodles moved in to house next door. I ran to my mom who was cleaning the bathtub at the moment and exclaimed to her what had happened. She didn't seem to be as concerned with the situation as I was so I continued to read on the couch in the living room. My mom couldn't even get me to put down the book at dinner time. I think I talked more than I ate because all I wanted to do was tell my family what I read and practically paint them a picture of the story.
My whole life I have been a huge animal lover and I would watch hour after hour after hour of nothing but animal planet. I wanted to pursue my dreams and become a veterinarian or somehow help animals or have a career like the crocodile hunter (but not handle the bugs or make the snakes angry). I think I was so into your books because of my love for animals and how you gave all the animals in your books their own distinct personalities and characteristics and made them all so unique.
Thank you for opening up a whole new world of books to me. I still am not a total avid reader but I do keep my mind open to not judge a book by its cover.
Danner Lee Wilhelm