Hubcaps and PuppiesBook - 2002
It's not easy having your own father for a teacher, but that's only one of twelve-year-old Nikki's problems. Her beloved dog has died, leaving a gaping hole in her life, which is thrown into further turmoil by the arrival of her long-lost eccentric grandmother from Australia. Life is pretty tense around Nikki's house, but Nikki relaxes by taking long rides on her horse and visiting a nearby secluded pond inhabited by a rare species of turtle. Things do begin to get brighter when she receives an unwanted, runt puppy as a birthday present. She names the ugly little Border Collie Lucky and he flourishes under her care. As she and her grandmother begin working together, first of all at preparing a garden and then at training Lucky for the local agility trials, they eventually become friends and the grandmother begins telling Nikki about her crusades for the environment in Australia. When Nikki finds out that developers are planning to fill in her special pond to build a housing estate, wiping out the turtles' habitat, she decides to take a dangerous stand on the animals' behalf. But can she really take on a big developer and win? Hubcaps and Puppies is not only a story about a girl, her dog and her horse, but also about the protection of the environment and the lessons that the older generation may have to teach the younger if they are willing to listen. Nelson writes in a fast-moving and energetic style, but her characters and situations are always realistic and believable.