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ORVILLE by Haven Kimmel


A Dog Story

by Haven Kimmel & illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-15955-X
Publisher: Clarion

Orville is a huge, unattractive stray dog who is taken in by an older couple on a farm in this overly long, depressing tale, a first children’s story from memoirist Kimmel. The dog has been abused in his former life, and now he’s chained to the barn and becomes an angry, chronic barker. The text describes the dog’s thoughts and his perspective on the farm couple, with philosophical musings about his own hopeless life at the end of a chain. Orville “falls in love” with a pretty young neighbor from afar and then repeatedly breaks his chain and enters her house. The enigmatic conclusion hints that each character has broken free of some sort of chain to connect with others, a theme that will fly right by most children. Parker’s sophisticated watercolors add some interest to the effort, but this misguided attempt is too long and too esoteric for the intended audience, another illustrated short story with adult sensibilities. (Picture book. 6-9)