DOGBOY by Victor Kelleher


Age Range: 14 & up
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A dog and her pup raise an abandoned baby boy in this philosophical tale that appears to take place sometime before Christ. Inhabitants of a nearby settlement who worship the Mountain God cannot understand why they’re undergoing a long period of drought. Needing a scapegoat, Dogboy, who has tried to become a small part of the community, is made the focus of the villagers’ superstitions. Bedazzled by a pair of (false) shamans, Dogboy makes it his goal to become their equal. He, his dog sister and a servant from the settlement named Magda set off. The implication throughout is that the rainstorms that occasionally provide relief are tied to Dogboy’s emotions. When he undergoes a long period of believing he’s a shaman and everyone else is beneath him, the land experiences an unusual drought. Is Dogboy special? Is he a gift from the mountain? Is he a shaman or a water finder or both? Kelleher keeps up the suspense in this cautionary tale on morality and what is truly important in life, and telling the boy’s childhood in a fascinating way. The last half is slightly weaker than the first, because it’s a very familiar cautionary story regarding ego and the need for wealth above all other things. However, there’s enough here to interest thoughtful readers. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-932425-76-4
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2006


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