Aslan: Running Joy (CrossLink Publishing, 2021)
By Kristin Kaldahl
Mom and I can’t wait to tell you about Aslan: Running Joy. It’s super woofworthy. But first. Watch P!nk FLY!!
Recovering from a kidney transplant, Krissy’s health is delicate. She’s always been about horses and dogs. The 14 year-old Oklahoman sold her mare cuz she’s afraid she’ll get hurt riding. But Krissy’s more afraid of dreaming and failing. Again.
Horseless, Krissy sets her sights on dog agility competition. The sport is intense and demanding, both mentally and physically. Are Krissy and her “totally-wrong-for-agility runt,” Aslan the Shetland Shepherd dog (Sheltie), up to the challenge? Will they rack up enough Qs to earn a shot at the Big Dance? Will Charlotte ever shut up? And what’s up with Krissy’s used-to-be bestie, Violet? Or her sulking big bro, Peter?
Kimber: I am so totally rooting for my new BFF, Aslan the Sheltie! I am telling you, this pup’s Que Magnifique! Well. Okay. Not quite as magnifique as moi. I mean, really. How can you top perfection? But anyway…
Mom: What a beautiful, inspiring story! The author’s expertise in the subject matter is something us rookies can only imagine. (Don’t tell Kimber I said that, okay? I’ll never hear the end of it.)
POV: Clever & Captivating
The POV in the narrative is clever and captivating. It shifts smoothly between Krissy and Aslan, getting both human and canine perspectives. Diagrams of agility courses and a Glossary are included so readers understand what’s what.
Kimber: Where was I before Mom interrupted again? Oh yeah. My fave character is Q, “a small border collie made of lightning.” Probably a relative. True, I wanted to poop on one or two characters. But Mom says “No.” You know how Mom is. (Fair warning: If Mom sees anyone hitting a dog, she’ll come after ‘em. Loaded for bear. Savvy?)
Mom: There’s also “Teddy dog love.” Vivid imagery like: “Too-sweet-for-iced-tea accent.” Iron sharpening iron. “A good dog needs to know when to sit still and just be a warm shoulder.” Sometimes, just attempting is a win. “God always brings the right dog at the right time.” More bacon, Kim?
And grace. Lots of grace.
Aslan: Running Joy is a masterful blend of terrific writing, robust, well-rounded characters, and nimble pacing. It’s fascinating. Entertaining. Exciting. Kimber: In chapter 28, for instance, Mom literally jumped up and screamed when Aslan… Wait. Mom says I can’t tell you that. Something about “spoilers.” What does that mean?
Anyway, woof and double woof! Cuz if this book was just about dog agility training and that special bond between dogs and their humans (hi, Mom), it would’ve been a big hit here. But it’s about so much more. It’s about…. Oh, wait again. Mom says to find that out, you’ll have to get the book! (Now would be good.)
Better Than Bacon?
Finally, we can’t put into words how much we loved this book.
But you know that feeling when you chow down on a nice crisp piece of thick-sliced bacon? How your mouth goes all smiley and your whole body wants to break out its happy dance? That’s how we feel about Aslan: Joy Running. Besides. As fans of all things Narnia-ish, we couldn’t resist a book with “Aslan” in the title.
Wait. Is that Reepicheep?
Our Rating: 5.0
Shetland Shepherd image credit: Public Domain