Diane Daniels Manning — Educator & Author (Showdogs, Westminster Kennel Club, Poodle Club of America)
Diane Daniels Manning — Educator & Author (Showdogs, Westminster Kennel Club, Poodle Club of America)

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"A charming novel about a troubled young dog owner
that will appeal to readers of all ages."
– Kirkus Reviews (Click For More)

"This is one of the most heartfelt, feel good books
I have read in a long time ... an easy five star rating."
– Midwest Book Review (Click For More)

In honor of "Westminster Season," here's an excerpt from ALMOST PERFECT where twelve year-old Benny first learns about Westminster from his mentor David, son of seventy year-old Bess, once breeder of the world’s greatest Standard Poodles:

“My mother’s dreamed of winning Westminster her whole life. She’s been invited dozens of times, but something always seems to get in the way.”

“Weird!”

“Anyway, now she’s got this puppy that could keep her hopes alive, but she refuses to have anything to do with him.”

Benny picked up a stick of his own. “She does seem kind of pig-headed, but I thought she liked poodles. What’s so great about this Westminster, anyway?”

David tugged on the beak of his cap. “Sorry, I was brought up believing everyone knows Westminster. Actually, it’s the most famous dog show in America, maybe the world. Twenty-five hundred dogs, two hundred sixty-five breeds. It’s the oldest continuous sporting event in America except for the Kentucky Derby. They’ve held it every year since 1877, through blizzards, national depressions, and two world wars.”

Benny thought he would probably go if someone gave him a ticket but watching a bunch of fancy dogs parading around a ring wasn’t his idea of fun. His eyes lit up.

“Say, I’ve got a great idea. If she doesn’t like the puppy, she could take McCreery. He’s a great-looking dog. He could win Westminster for sure.”

Diane Daniels Manning — Educator & Author (Showdogs, Westminster Kennel Club, Poodle Club of America)

Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.

When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.

Diane Daniels Manning — Educator & Author (Showdogs, Westminster Kennel Club, Poodle Club of America)