Review By CAROLYN M. MULLIN
Just how far will one boy go to keep the dog he’s always wanted? Pretty far.
One Dog and His Boy is one of the sweetest, most tender-hearted novels for pre-teens I’ve come across. It centers on the soon-to-be-ten-year-old Hal Fenton whose only wish is to have a canine pal. His mother, Albina, is quite neurotic when it comes to having the latest fashions, home décor, and spic and span house. A dog simply would not fit in with their lifestyle, she reiterates. A busy businessman, Hal’s father is rarely at home.
When his birthday rolls around and he’s given a number of failed gifts, Hal is finally taken to Easy Pets to choose a dog! Unbeknownst to Hal, Easy Pets is a rental agency run by a self-serving, greedy couple. The owners are convinced by their kindhearted hired hand, Kayley, that the new dog she brings in is the latest fancy breed, a Tottenham Terrier. Little did they know, the dog was a mutt from the streets. Having not been rented in a week’s time, the terrier is about to be sent to the shelter when…
There was the sound of a crate being pried open, and something small and white appeared in the doorway. For a moment, Fleck stood and looked about him. Then like a bullet from a gun he shot across the room and hurled himself at Hal. Almost at the same time, Hal dropped to his knees and held out his arms.
This is just the beginning of such an adventuresome story, of such an incredible bond. After a weekend to remember with Fleck, come Monday, Hal finds his best friend gone. Hal and Kayley’s sister find themselves liberating Fleck and a number of the rental agency dogs and hightailing it to the sea, where Hal’s understanding, pro-dog grandparents reside. They come across circus performers, orphans, and a down-on-his-luck farmer, in addition to some sticky situations, on their way to the seaside.
A wonderful testament to the human-animal bond, a fortifying read for young animal lovers, and a book that subtly weaves animal protection themes into its pages. The circus mentioned had given up their wild animals and the rental agency is shut down and a rescue center opened in its place. Woo!
This copy was provided for review purposes by Scholastic Press.