WHEN MACK CAME BACK by Brad Strickland


Age Range: 8 - 12
Email this review


In this heart-tugging period piece about a poor but proud farming family, Strickland (The Specter From the Magician’s Museum, not reviewed, etc.) invites readers into the world of backcountry Georgia at the time of WWII. When ten-year-old Maury discovers a sick and starving dog lying amidst a tangle of blackberry vines, he’s convinced that it’s Mack, a young pup that his older brother Ben gave away to a friend when Ben enlisted in the service. But Maury’s father, a pragmatic and angry man, has no time for such impractical foolishness, especially not for anything that reminds him of his elder son, who left home against his father’s wishes. Times are hard, and money is scarce with no extra to waste on a sick dog. Maury, determined to save the sick pup, trades his Christmas gift—a used blue bicycle—to a friend in exchange for money to take Mack to the vet, a kind man who understands the boy’s need for a companion. These characters could easily have become one-dimensional stereotypes in the hands of a less-skilled author, but Strickland paints a grimly realistic portrait of a family struggling to eke out a living from the land. Rather than an action adventure, this is a quiet story of a boy who learns to accept himself and of a man who learns to value the steadfast loyalty of a dog. Readers who believe in the mystical bond that can exist between people and animals will cheer Mack on as he slowly and quietly helps heal the emotional pain of the Painter family members. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8037-2498-5
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2000


ChildrenKONG by Joe Devito
by Joe Devito
ChildrenFLIGHT OF THE OUTCAST by Brad Strickland
by Brad Strickland
ChildrenTRACKED BY TERROR by Brad Strickland
by Brad Strickland
ChildrenGRIMOIRE by Brad Strickland
by Brad Strickland