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Animal Character, BOOK REVIEWS, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Early/Young Readers, Humor, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions

ONE DOG AND HIS BOY by Eva Ibbotson


Eva Ibbotson is perhaps better known for her humorous and inventive stories about ghosts and ogres, witches and magic.  In this book all her characters are humans or dogs. There is no “wizard-type” magic; there is only the magic that exists between a dog and his owner.

Hal is a boy whose wealthy parents are preoccupied with their wealth and buying things.  The only thing Hal wants is a dog.  His mother refuses to allow a dog into her home where is could damage or destroy her expensive furnishings.  On Hal’s birthday his father rents Hal a dog for the weekend.  He does not, however, tell Hal that the dog is rented; Hal believes his new dog–Fleck–is his forever.

Hal’s mother returns the dog to EASY PETS while Hal is away.  When Hal arrives home to find his beloved pet is gone, something finally breaks inside him.  He no longer cares about anything.  Hal’s parents cannot understand his behavior–although anyone who has ever loved a dog can.  Eventually Hal resolves to get Fleck back regardless of the consequences.  Hal’s and Fleck’s journey first overlaps and then includes five additional dogs, also suffering through the indignity and misery of the EASY PETS establishment.  Hal and Fleck’s adventures are by turns solitary, touching and suspenseful.  The reader experiences each attempt to separate this dog and his boy right along with title characters.

One Dog and His Boy is a wonderfully easy read.  It’s a great choice for either an independent or read-aloud selection.    Admittedly a huge dog lover–I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It has zoomed its way to the top of my all-time favorites list! If you love dogs–or even one dog in particular–this is the book for you!

I also recommend Eva Ibbotson’s Ogre of Oglefort  for a funny magical romp through a “princess-imprisoned-in-the-tower” theme with a hilarious twist and a dementedly funny cast of characters!


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