Reviewed by Kimball Hunt, Poet at #Dobbsowen

[Reading Rooster is] an experience that is steeped in the magic of decency; delivered in a voice wizened by having come through the “lockstrife, cow’s thistle, and sneezeweed”; an assuring and needed voice confirming that rascality indelibly stamps features with a scowl that would scare a coyote; and that ethics will prevail so long as we stand willing to pose “all in order” and maintain a “staunch find”.

Yes, to any god who may question me regarding what I know. Yes to any god that might feel threatened by another claiming credit for creation. Eddie Pontecoloni. He’s a creator.  So, Yes indeed.  I’ll stand by him. And say to those threatened gods: Yes! Yes almighty! Yes, there is among us, a  “coarse-haired, orange dog with long floppy ears … as if conjured by whimsy.” I’ll swear to what he accomplished and confirm that it cost me a half dozen tissue bearing witness to some of all that dog and his people had to live through. And give thanks in abundance that they succeeded.


I don’t know about the [narrator's offered]chocolate milk. I thought this was a book that did just fine with a jigger of 17 year McCallum poured through a pint of Switchback Ale.


Confirmed Amazon Purchaser:

A fun read. As I was reading it I felt more like someone was in the room telling me a wonderful story.
A must read for any dog lover. It is a delightful mystical tale. Each time I experience a blue butterfly in our garden it serves as a reminder of Rooster!

Reviewed by Tom Word for American Field:


Rooster is a delight. It's charm grows on the reader with each turn of the page. 


The title character is a Spimone Italiano, a versatile hunting breed that points on land and retrieves on land and water, recognized by the AKC in 2000. Noted for stamina and a kindly disposition, it sports a wiry rough coat from yellow to brown mixed with white (Rooster's is orange). 


As befits a fable, the book's human characters range from devious and dastardly to wise and kind. So do its canine characters, a big intimidating pointer named Red Eyes, hare lipped and ornery and adept at stealing points, and the smart, devoted Rooster (so named after the John Wayne character). They become rivals. A 

blue butterfly plays a special role in Rooster's behalf. To tell you more would spoil your fun, which builds by the fast moving chapter. 


The author's  prose is polished and playful, as befits a fable. He reveals a sense of humor and would surely make a boon companion on a grouse hunt in his native up-state New York, where he practices law. He has also published The Adventures of Firstyr the Younger, Bed Time Stories for Young Lawyers, in prose and poems, a fun read as well. 


Review by Sam for Amazon. 

This is a great first write for this novice author. His writing got easier and flowed better as the story unfolds. This little gem would make a great Disney or Pixar film. The story reminds me of " babe " if you like uplifting fantasies and the triumph of the " under DOG " give this first time author a read and learn about the wonderful world of field trials, which I knew nothing about. 

Kirkus Indie Review 02/14/2017


Pontacoloni (The Adventures of Firstyr the Younger, 2008) offers a fable about the rise of an underdog in hunting dog competitions.


One summer in the 1950s, Tom Quinn travels to North Dakota to train with Duke Arness, a man well-versed in the sport of canine field trials, which involve pointer dogs locating wild game.  Duke’s son, Buck, and his friend Charlie, often give Tom a hard time – but he holds his ground and learns all he can from Duke.  Tom goes on to become a field trial champion himself until a fateful accident leaves him with a broken hip; he then stops competing but continues as a dog trainer.  Decades later, 16-year-old Mike Storey becomes acquainted with Tom and soon takes an interest in the sport.  The only problem is that Mike’s dog. Rooster, isn’t a pointer – he’s a funny-looking Spinone pup, labeled by others as “that ‘orange mongrel dog.’”  Tom also doubts Rooster’s potential as a field-trialer, but once he sees that the dog has a knack for it, he takes Mike under his wing to help them become champions.  The story comes full circle when the two eventually compete against Tom’s childhood foes, Buck and Charlie, and their menacing dog, Red Eyes.  What makes this novel such an engaging read is Pontacoloni’s ability to transport readers into the story with lucid details, a mix of realistic and fanciful narration, and a pervading tone of reminiscence, as if the author is telling a captivating tale around the campfire.  Readers may find it slightly difficult to keep track of all the characters at the beginning, but things become clearer as Pontacoloni fully develops the different players.  The plot will be most engaging to those who are already familiar with field trials, but others will find that they quickly make sense of the sport as the story goes along.


Delightful, inviting storytelling that will effectively immerse readers into the world of field trials.

Reviewed by Tom Gugliotti for Amazon:

This review is from: Rooster: A Field Trial Fable (Paperback)

How many times have you thought: "if only my dog could talk"? Well, maybe dogs and other critters do talk - they certainly communicate with each other well enough. "Rooster" brings us into that special clan of four legged creatures - and one blue, winged creature - with a warmth and insight on the world not as we see it, but as "they" see it. We learn a lot about "field trials", man's best friend, family values, perseverance and "straight-shooters" - not just from our human players in this fable, but from Rooster, Sparky, the blue Pookah and even the sinister "Red Eyes". We get to "listen in" on what these creatures have to say to each other. Yes, this is a fable, but just maybe after reading this delightful story you will believe in "Pookahs", too. "Rooster" is an easy read, which quickly paints the background picture of sporting dogs field trials - a sport probably not known to many but one you will want to know more about after reading this book. All the elements of a good story are here- character development, the great outdoors, a clash of values, and good versus evil, as told from a glowing campfire. Rooster is a good ole dog, a true friend. We can learn a lot from Rooster. Spend a few minutes sitting near the warm campfire with Rooster, Sparky and the. Pookah. You'll be glad you did.

Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

A story about sporting dogs and bird-dogs in field trials may sound like a tale for kids, but when it is told by a master storyteller like Edward Pontacoloni, it becomes more than interesting. Rooster: A Field Trial Fable by Edward Pontacoloni features a wide collection of compelling characters, all coming together for the national championships. On one hand is the group of Tom, Mike, and Rooster, and on the other is the dare-devil Red Eyes, a dog that can play pretty rough and that won’t let anyone get ahead of him. Red Eyes has been trained by rough and unforgiving men like Tall Charlie and Buck Arness, and it can be said “like owner like dog” of this team. With this cast of characters a story unfolds that will become a roller coaster ride of excitement and entertainment for the reader. 

Pontacoloni knows how to seduce readers and he does so without warning. The writing is polished and it reads sweetly. The descriptions are terrific, vivid, and captivating. For instance: “Of the pups, the black-eared one fell to Tom to handle, likely because the others felt that the pup held no promise; it was unruly, its tail curved and angled at eleven o’clock, but it was a strong and vigorous dog, full with the desire of a desperately hungry forager. “ (p. 6). It will be hard to read Rooster without falling in love with the lyrical style. The author writes beautifully and with confidence. Some of the descriptions are terrific, but even when detailed, it never feels boring. The author's voice comes across in a unique, clear and powerful way. 

It takes an intelligent mind to conceive a gripping tale, but it takes genius to make it interesting, and Pontacoloni has got both. His work is hilarious, engaging, and absolutely entertaining, plus the author has got this unique way of saying things that will leave a smile on the faces of readers as they turn the pages. The story is well thought-out and, at every turn, the reader looks forward in anticipation to what happens next. Rooster offers many inspiring and invaluable lessons on friendship and courage.


Ed, It was a fun ride for me. The only fable I ever read to the finish was Animal farm, but your work makes me want to read more. You write beautifully and with confidence. Some of your descriptions are terrific, and even when you are detailed, it never feels boring. I wondered what it would feel like talking personally to you. Yes, your voice comes across in a unique, clear and powerful way. Good luck on this lovely one.

Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite

Rooster, A Field Trial Fable by Edward Pontacoloni is the story of Rooster, an orange dog with floppy ears and yellow eyes. It is the tale of Tom Quinn, an Irish field trailer, of Michael, a teenager, and Amy, Tom’s niece. And there’s Pooka. Pooka is a beautiful blue butterfly, a sprite from the fairy lands. All of them have a dream, a dream of a national field trial championship, a competition that is tough, a sport of snarling competitors, but one thing stands in their way – Red Eyes. Red Eyes is a devil dog, made that way by Charlie Hinkle and Buck Arness. Both of them are bringing Red Eyes to the national competition to face off against and beat Rooster, Mike and Tom. Who will triumph on the day and who will slink home with their tail between their legs?

Rooster, A Field Trial Fable by Edward Pontacoloni is a fanciful tale and a good read. This is an excellent story with no loose ends. The plot is tightly wound and follows a natural course; it is an original storyline, written in a language that is easy to understand but compelling all the same. The characters are well developed, giving readers ample opportunity to get to know them. Mr. Pontacoloni has a real way with words, a way of writing that draws the reader gently into the story and holds them there until it is finished. This is the kind of story that will appeal to adults and older teens who have a love of dogs and field sports. I think that all who read it will thoroughly enjoy it; I know I did!

Reviewed By Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

In Rooster, A Field Trial Fable by author Edward Pontacoloni, readers will find a story that is both delightful and adventurous, and with a main theme that is not necessarily common in fiction; that of the life of those who participate in field trials, both dogs and their humans. Rooster, the dog protagonist of the story, is a flop eared, yellow-eyed “mongrel breed” with a whole lot of heart, and perhaps just enough skill to make the dreams of his handlers, the experienced Tom Quinn, Tom's niece Amy, and a teenager, Michael, come true. Their greatest adversary is the dog Red Eyes, who is filled with cunning, and his handlers, Buck Arness and Tall Charlie Hinkle. Their greatest match up will be at Nationals. Does Rooster stand a chance? You'll have to read the book to find out!

I very much enjoyed Rooster, A Field Trial Fable. Author Edward Pontacoloni has done a great job in creating characters, both dog and human, that his readers will connect with, relate to and care about, thinking of them long after the story is done. The story is fast paced and full of action, and readers will find themselves eagerly flipping through the pages, completely engrossed in this tale. Any reader who likes an interesting read of fiction, but perhaps especially those who have an interest in dogs and field trials, would love this book. I am pleased to recommend Rooster: A Field Trial Fable, and I look forward to reading more from author Edward Pontacoloni as soon as possible!



By Amazon Customer on November 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Five Stars

"Hie on!"

"Rooster is a well-crafted story which illustrates some of the best and worst of both mankind and our canine companions. Pontacoloni captures much of the emotion of a young man growing up connecting to his hunting dog. Throughout Mike's journey he learns quickly that there are trustworthy, beautiful souls as well as untrustworthy and selfish individuals that will stop at nothing for the prize. A must read for anyone who values the human/canine connection, competition, and a great story!"



Official Review by kandscreeley » 08 Feb 2020


Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Rooster" by Edward Pontacoloni.
4 out of 4 stars


Hunting trials. Dogs. A blue butterfly. Pookas. A little romance. You'll find all that and more in Rooster: A Field Trial Fable by Edward Pontacoloni.

Rooster is a breed of dog that isn't usually good for hunting, at least not in competition with setters and pointers. Mike, his owner, is a young man who knows little about hunting, dogs, or field trialing. Luckily, though, he runs across Tom Quinn, who knows everything there is to know about the subject. It doesn't hurt that a beautiful girl works with Tom training dogs. At first, Tom doesn't think much of Rooster; but, with the help of a blue butterfly, Rooster shows potential, even as a "mongrel breed." Will Tom be able to make something out of Mike and his dog?

When I read the description of this book, I was a bit concerned. I know nothing about hunting dog trials, and it seems odd to add in fairies or sprites. I was pleasantly surprised, though, and I found myself glad to have picked it up.

The author made the book accessible to all by not being too technical with the details. Everything is explained in terms that the average person can understand. The reader might even learn a thing or two by the end of the book.

Furthermore, Mr. Pontacoloni allows the dogs to speak for themselves at various places in the novel. This was my favorite part of the book. It really helped me to picture the personality of Rooster and the other animal characters. It was especially poignant because we get the same events from two different perspectives - animal and human. This is reason enough to recommend the story.

The book is told by a narrator close to the story. It honestly felt like talking to a friend and getting a firsthand account. At one point, the narrator even asks the reader if he or she wants a glass of chocolate milk or a cookie. It made the story personable, engaging, and light-hearted.

That's not all, however. The author has vivid descriptions that allow the reader to have an immersive experience. For example, "...all along adjacent fallow fields of the stubby remains of last year's corn, the color of ocean driftwood..." It's a well-written story.

There were only a few small issues. First, there are a lot of characters introduced early on in the story, and it takes some time to get to know them all. Secondly, I didn't know who the narrator was right away. I would've liked it if the narrator introduced himself earlier in the story.

Since my complaints were minor and didn't interrupt the flow of the story, I give Rooster: A Field Trial Fable 4 out of 4 stars. It would be appropriate even for younger audiences, like middle schoolers, to adults. If you enjoy animals and flights of fancy, this is for you. If you're looking for something more intense and suspenseful, you'll want to skip this one.