An action adventure about two kids and their dog surviving in the wilderness.
A family camping adventure in the Ontario wilderness becomes a struggle for survival in Graham’s (What is Growing Out of Your Ear?, 2014) middle-grade novel. Hiking with their parents, Graham and his sister, Evelyn, mistakenly get separated after chasing after the family dog, Toby. Out in the wilderness by themselves, they must keep their wits about them as they encounter dangerous predators. As Graham and Evelyn find their way back to their mysteriously abandoned campsite, Toby wonders whether the strange woodsman Graham saw earlier has possibly done something to their parents. But more pressing dangers await: The wolf they encountered earlier is back, and there are more deadly creatures in the wild, including rattlesnakes. In the tense conclusion, Graham races to save his sister from a snakebite; Toby tries to protect his family from the wolf, and the woodsman’s true character is revealed. The action of the novel is intense and age-appropriate as Graham and Evelyn face down various threats. Narrated by the dog, the author adds a sense of fun and humor to the otherwise scary events. For example, when Evelyn needs to go to the bathroom and her mother searches their packs for toilet paper, Toby tries to offer his own advice: “Watch this, Evelyn. I try to get her attention by standing against a tree right in front of her. I lift my leg and, presto! Back to basics.” The success of Toby as a narrator comes from the balance of his canine and human qualities; as a dog, he chases loons, loves kibble and licks faces, but as a narrator, he offers descriptions of the action and insights into characters. Together with his amiable character and strong voice, Toby is a real, three-dimensional character; young readers will be drawn in by the dog’s big heart and heroic spirit. The human characters are just as compelling. Evelyn shows herself to be a capable, smart young girl, taking care of her brother when he breaks his arm, and Graham is a thoughtful older brother.
A dog-narrated adventure for young readers full of action, heart and heroics.