NOTHING WRONG WITH A THREE-LEGGED DOG by Graham McNamee

NOTHING WRONG WITH A THREE-LEGGED DOG

Age Range: 7 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Those who love dogs, relish humor, and understand not fitting in will adore McNamee’s (Hate You, 1999) novel about fourth graders Keath (a.k.a. Whitey, etc.), his best friend Lynda (a.k.a. Zebra), and Lynda’s maimed beagle, Leftovers (a.k.a. Predator). Attending a nearly all-black school downtown makes Keath prey to bullies like sharp-jointed Toothpick. If he looked like everybody else, Keath wouldn’t be their main target, but as it is, a friend tells him, “You the worm, man.” The bullies also hassle Lynda, daughter of a black, veterinarian mom and white, dog-walker dad. Keath, who can’t resist or own dogs, meets Lynda as she carries “a shopping bag full of dog turds” behind her dad’s canine cluster. Adults in this hugely readable book’s cast of beautifully realized characters adroitly help Keath manage being a “freak.” Mom’s loving support, Dad’s sensitive advice, and Gran’s determined, post-stroke, one-handed efforts to create an origami frog that hops only to produce one that does “nothing but back flips” allow Keath to get over being creeped out by differences. When Leftovers wins a silver medal in a special dog show, Keath thinks it possible to “be like Leftovers and fit in in my own way”—but he still wants to be a golden retriever when he grows up. Viva la difference! is the inchoate, incalculably valuable message, sent via consummate craft, upbeat tone, and in-your-face humor in this deft, deep book. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-32755-2
Page count: 134pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2000




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