"The Good, the Bad, and the Beagle is not about the dog so much as it is about learning how to see from different perspectives, how to grieve, and how to be a good friend...Burns approaches serious (and less serious) topics with empathy and humor, making Veronica's mistakes and recoveries as fun to read about as the boldest of adventures." --VOYA
"Animal-lovers and insecure middle-schoolers alike will connect with this realistic portrayal of tween life." --Booklist
"In sharp contrast to the sad themes that permeate this quiet tale, a strong vein of humor - springing mainly from Veronica's often ironic and feisty attitude - relieves the raw suffering without undermining its power. Readers will find this journey back to contentment both fully believable and emotionally resonant." --Kirkus
"Burns...offers a warmhearted and realistic take on love, grief, and the difficulties and rewards of making human friends." --Publishers Weekly
Set in a Manhattan reminiscent of Louise Fitzhugh’s, and starring a protagonist with as much verve as one of Beverly Cleary’s, this is the story of feisty eleven-year-old Veronica Morgan, who believes that a furry lemon beagle from the neighborhood pet store will be the solution to the endless worries she has about life in general and friendship in particular. This is a problem, since her bumbling psychiatrist parents won’t buy her the puppy she wants or stop meddling in her life at her challenging new school. But things never turn out the way you plan, particularly if you never stop expecting the worst to happen, and haven’t taken a chance on being a true friend yourself.
Writing for kids
I gave up my dream of being a stewardess named Bridgett. But I never gave up my dream of being on tv. I also knew I was going to write books. I kept this plam a secret because a friend of our family's was a writer and he was crazy. Not crazy in a bad way, just crazy in the way that no one ever believed anything he said because he was so flamboyant. Pretty much anything he said, someone would say, "Oh come on, that's crazy." He was a character. He was flamboyant. He was not to be taken seriously. Our house was filled with his screenplays and manuscripts. When he told me that I was a writer, I simply didn't take it seriously. But I never forgot it. Writing and acting are similar because they both involve spending lots of time inside the heads of people who are made up. I think it is important to know your characters and to like them. No one is all good or all bad. Writing is more fun than acting because I don't have to wait for someone to say, "you got the part!" or to say, "action!" or for all the actors to show up. I just show up at my desk and get going. And when it's going well, it is incredibly fun to be inside the characters I make up. The book I wrote for adults is called It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks.