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NO DOGS ALLOWED! by Bill Wallace


by Bill Wallace

Age Range: 8 - 9

Pub Date: June 15th, 2004
ISBN: 0-8234-1818-9
Publisher: Holiday House

As far back as she can remember, her grandparent’s horse has been her secret delight, refuge, and confidant, but when it dies, eight-year-old Kristine feels off balance, and instead of grieving, creates an emotional distance to protect herself from further hurt. The first-person narrative examines her progressive withdrawal and close nuclear-family support during her psychological struggle. Kristine thinks she is subtle in her rejection of Grandpa’s gift, a bright cuddly puppy, but Wallace expertly reveals what Kristine has hidden from herself, using her own words. Wallace skillfully builds bibliotherapeutic text rife with internal struggle, yet reveals, beneath the conflict, a happy, healthy, and well-balanced family life infused with warmth and humor. Grandpa and Kristine thieve cookie dough while grandma isn’t looking, homework and chores are dutifully performed, and family well-being always comes first. Despite some didactic text and conversation and phrasing too grown-up for the characters delivering them, cunningly told. (Fiction. 8-9)