THE FRISKATIVE DOG by Susan Straight


Age Range: 9 - 12
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Word-lover Sharron labeled her stuffed dog “friskative” when she was five, because, like its owner, it was both frisky and talkative. Now nine, she is more subdued and reflective. In her small apartment, Friskative has been her pet, helping her cope with the disappearance of her trucker father. When the dog vanishes, too, her patience in coping with loss also disappears. Thanks to helpful friends and adults, Sharron recovers both her dog, taken by bullying girls in her fourth-grade classroom, and her sense of self-worth. More psychological study than plot-driven story, the beautifully written narrative moves slowly to the crisis point, providing ample opportunity for character development and loving descriptive detail about the Southern California setting. In Sharron’s multicultural classroom, the privileged bullies are stereotypically blonde and class distinctions are clear. The reminder that wealthier does not equal better is repeated, but the moral is not obtrusive. The friendship and family issues will resonate with those middle-grade readers more interested in emotion than action. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 13th, 2007
ISBN: 0-375-83777-9
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2007