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Thursday 9 May 2013

Wheezer and the Painted Frog by Kitty Sutton


When a dog is the hero of a story, what on earth is not to like?!

What an excellent tale from Kitty Sutton. One of fact and fiction, married perfectly to create a story set around the appalling eviction of the Cherokee to new territories, in the nineteenth century.

Vital supplies from government are not reaching these destitute people. Though many—old and young—are dying from the hardship, the death of a little boy is incomprehensible to his older sister, Sasa, who is confused by his dying words. And so, she has a puzzle to solve. Alone—but determined—companionship, protection, and help, arrive in the form of a four-legged assistant: Wheezer, no less. A very smart Jack Russell terrier, who has fled his beloved master in terror when an explosion frightens his whiskers off. When his owner finally catches up with him, Sasa finds another unexpected ally in solving her puzzle and the mystery surrounding a carved painted frog, and together they uncover betrayal, greed, and the reasons why their lifeline is being cut off from them. 

The title—and indeed the cover—belies the content of this book. I confess I was expecting a children’s story. How wrong was I! There was murder, crime, fraud, mystery, deception, a teensy weensy bit of romance, and adventures aplenty for one very smart little dog. The story is fictional, yes, but the historic Cherokee ‘Trail of Tears’ is not, nor is the intelligence and lovability of Jack Russells. The factual perimeters envelop a compelling story with wonderfully conceived and portrayed characters (how about Mary Walkingstick? Fabulous!). Kitty’s research has left no stone unturned and has created a vivid and detailed setting for this easy-to-read and enjoyable novel.


  1. I agree with your comments, Cathy. I too enjoyed this book enormously, whilst confessing to an appalling ignorance of the history and plight of the indiginous peoples of North America - so cleverly brought out in Kitty's work. I am currently enjoying Kitty's next book in the Wheezer adventures, 'Wheezer and the Shy Coyote'
    Kind regards
    David Makinson

    1. I'm really looking forward to the next 'instalment'. And I confess, that you are not alone in ignorance of that part of history. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

  2. I have to confess that I am humbled by your praise. The reason for writing this book was to expose a bit of hidden history that was basically ignored by historians. It was not until after the book was published that I happened onto some numbers showing the outcome of this deadly conspiracy. I could not find the numbers for all of the tribes within Indian Territory, but what I did find was chilling. As in the book, the Cherokees lost 1,000 from starvation. The Choctaw lost a whopping 6,000 and the Osage peoples lost half of their entire nation to a planned conspiracy to starve the Indians to death. I would call that genocide. It is a shame that the loss of life caused by this heartless conspiracy has not been mentioned in the history books. For that reason I continue the series. The aim, to expose other important events that either have been purposely hidden or have just slipped through the cracks of history. I would also like to mention that the Old Fort Museum in Fort Smith, Ark. (this is the site of the actual fort in my book) has accepted both Wheezer books for their store. It had to pass a rigorous examination to make sure the history was correct. We just received word last week.

    I want to thank Cathy for such a wonderful review and I would like to praise Inknbeans Press for recognizing the importance of exposing this hidden history to our nation and those tribes that I research. I only hope that I can continue to find a willing readership. Thank you or Wado (Thank you in Cherokee) Kitty Sutton

  3. Thanks, Kitty. The privilege was indeed mine.