DOG GONE by Cynthia Chapman Willis


Age Range: 8 - 12
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Willis’s debut novel skillfully navigates the subject of parental loss. Twelve-year-old Dill Macgregor has been hurting since her mother died. She tries to keep her sorrow hidden away, but her grief-stricken daddy, Lyon, and granddad, G.D., keep at her to talk about her feelings. Then Lyon goes and gives away all of Mom’s animals except one, Dead End the dog. Now that Mom’s gone, Dead End has started roaming; Dill and G.D. believe he’s looking for her. When farmers report dogs killing their livestock, Dill fears Dead End is involved. If so, then he’ll be shot and there will be one less thing to remind her of her mother. Set on a Southern farm, the author peppers her story with homey turns of phrases and strong secondary characters, such as Cub, Dill’s best friend. Willis, an author to watch, keeps the narrative tightly focused on Dill and her resistance to facing her grief. This well-told story, spiced with humor and facts on animal care, has a satisfying, appealing conclusion. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-37123-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2008


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