GRAY BOY by Jim Arnosky


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A talented picture-book illustrator (Watching Foxes) tries his hand at fiction, using the northern farmland setting made familiar in his books on wildlife and sketching. Though perturbed by Gray Boy's increasing tendency to roam and to growl even at him, Ian is loyal to his huge, mixed-breed Newfoundland because the dog was Ian's dead father's last gift to him. Then Gray Boy breaks into a neighboring rabbit-grower's hutch and kills two prize does; but before the constable arrives to take him to the pound, he escapes to the wild, and stays there for months, until he is wounded by a trapped fisher. Hearing of the wounded animal, Ian goes to find him, and barely escapes with his life--thanks to a last heroic effort from Gray Boy. Ernest Thompson Seton or Jack London could have made an exciting, moving story with this plot. Unfortunately, Arnosky's simple narrative of the events lacks dramatic tension; and although his details of conversations and relationships are plausible, they are too ordinary to individualize his characters and bring them to life.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1988
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard