CHALOU by Natalie Savage Carlson


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The odyssey of a big brindle dog among the ice floes of the St. Lawrence and along its Wooded shores introduces some of Mrs. Carlson's quirky French-Canadian characters and results in a tearful reunion which will please children despite its contrivance. Left by Jean and Remi, teenage farm boys, to watch a fishing hole in the ice, Chalou is separated from them by a fissure and carried downstream, howling like a werewolf. He is rescued and adopted by a crewman on an icebreaker, Whom he deserts when he smells the houses and smoke that remind him of home. The next day he noses out the lunch of a kind-hearted girl, Fleur-Ange, and drawn by unaccustomed kindness, follows her home; the work dog and occasional companion becomes a family pet. It is the scent of cattle recalling his duty to the herd, that sets Chalou off again after many months. He braves wolves, churning waters, and the wrath of a poacher and reaches the farm at last, sore and lame, only to find that his place has been taken by another dog. How he is reconciled with Fleur-Ange tidies up the tale with a conclusion that is practical if not altogether likely. The author has an eye for incident and an unsentimental understanding of dog department and drives. The whole is less than the sum of its parts, but each episode will advance Chalou (and those who befriend him) in the affection of young readers.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1967
Publisher: Harper & Row