The author of the well-received Albert the Dragon books has a nice touch with light dialogue. She uses this here in a story sure to find the soft spot in even the hardest hearts. It's all about the adventures of a group of dogs who formalized into a gang under the leadership of Mike, a mongrel on the run from London's dog pound. Homeless and unlicensed dogs are not allowed to roam for long over there and it took a lot of cagey planning to keep Mike's gang in order. There were: lap dog Tizzy, inclined to fluster easily; Boston Bill, very cool but his pedigree showed; and the blundering pups, whose high spirits attracted attention. Mike had the loyalty of all, except on one point. They all wistfully wanted good owners. ""I wouldn't take an owner as a gift, "" said Mike who had an embittering experience. It all ends up at the public kennel on Christmas Eve, when sentiment can get to even the toughest mutt. By the time Mike has broken down and started whimpering, so will his readers, who will also be rewarded by a happy ending.