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A DOG FOR LIFE by L.S. Matthews

A DOG FOR LIFE

By L.S. Matthews

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0-385-73366-6
Publisher: Delacorte

Because of his brother’s critical illness, John Hawkins’s mother says the family dog must go. Knowing that Mouse is necessary to his brother’s recovery, John takes her from the north end of the country to the south, where he hopes an uncle he has barely met will keep her temporarily. On the way he has adventures, exaggerated in later news stories to include saving a baby, a pack of wild horses and an entire gypsy caravan. Here, John tells his story straight, in a convincing colloquial voice. Hopeful, helpful John is an engaging nine or ten year old. The English setting is incidental to the adventure of his journey, which is very nearly as suspenseful as the reporting would have suggested, and far more interesting because of the telepathic connection between the dog and the boys. Underlying the appealing plot are some serious issues: a family’s grief, “natural” healing, scientific experimentation on animals, prejudice against gypsies and dealing with differences. Episodic enough to be read aloud, this should have wide appeal. (Fiction. 9-12)