George’s beloved dog, Bart, seems to always know when the Cape Cod grade schooler will be returning home and waits eagerly for his arrival.
Encouraged by Banks’ co-author, biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, author of the real-life book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999), with whom he exchanges many emails, George decides to begin a scientific investigation of his dog’s skill for a school project. Lester, a new classmate, has just moved into the neighborhood and is really missing his former home in Denver. He’s an upbeat kid who’s determined, most of the time, to try to make the best of his new situation. Lester’s dog also seems able to anticipate when he’ll come home. Coincidentally, George’s best friend, Kyra, recently moved away. While the setup is both convenient and obvious—two needy boys with similar interests who could do much to help each other out but can’t seem to find their way there—it doesn’t diminish the satisfaction of watching that process happen. George and Lester manage their investigation into human-animal telepathy in a way that is both valuable and inspiring. Lester, who spends a lot of his time repeating the mantra “Moving is fun. Change can be positive,” is particularly appealing, but nearly all of the attractively genial characters are convincingly developed.
Well-rounded characters and an interesting concept make this a solid read. (Fiction. 10-14)