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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kid Konnection: One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0545351966
Published March 1, 2012
Hardcover, 288 pages

When we first got this book ten months ago, I started reading it with my son, but after a few chapters he lost interest. I picked it up again a few weeks ago, and this time we persisted past the slow beginning and it finally picked up. Even if some parts were boring, overall my son enjoyed reading it with me.

This story is about a young 10 year-old boy named Hal who wants a dog desperately, but is tricked by his wealthy and oblivious parents who, instead of buying him a dog, rent one named Fleck for their son only for a weekend. When Hal discovers Fleck is not really his but has been returned, he is so dejected and feels betrayed that he refuses to eat. The dog, who loved Hal instantly, feels the same way. Hal then decides to rescue Fleck and run away from London, where he lives, to go to his grandparents' cottage in Northumberland by the sea. Accompanying him are Pippa, a girl his age and four other dogs from the same rent-a-pet agency as Fleck. On the way, they have an adventure performing in a travelling circus and meet a cast of characters from seedy and villainous to kind and hospitable.

I couldn't help thinking that this book would have made a great movie, because the characters really came across as cartoonish. Many scenes were highly exaggerated with the dogs' thoughts and feelings made just as apparent and almost more so than the human characters. My son thought exactly the same thing because he said, "Mom, this story would be so good as a movie." My son and I think alike! It would really make a funny and delightful movie.

There are various themes that run through this book: Money does not bring happiness, children need to be loved with attention and not material things, friendship can be found in the most unlikely places, and of course, that a dog is a man's, or in this case, a boy's best friend.

The story is suited for a young audience but the writing style is better suited for 9+ probably because it is written by an English author, and some of the words and expressions had to be explained to my son. It's very well-written, but there are a lot of characters introduced with little character development. The ending is great though, with all the subplots neatly tied up. Kids who love dogs will be able to relate and will probably wish they had a dog like Fleck.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Reviewed by Laura and Son

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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