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One Dog and His Boy

Review

One Dog and His Boy

All Hal ever wanted was a dog. But though his wealthy parents will give him any other gift, no matter how extravagant, his mother swears she will not have a dog in her spotlessly fashionable house. Then, on his birthday, his father says he can have a dog. His father mistakenly believes that Hal will quickly grow tired of taking care of a dog, and unbeknownst to Hal, takes him to a shop that only rents fashionable, purebred dogs.

Kayley is the young woman who takes care of the dogs in the shop, and she has a secret. When she found a small mutt, who she named Fleck, near her poor family's shabby apartment, she knew she had to keep him safe, but her landlord would never allow it. Instead, she took Fleck to work and kept him in an empty cage.

Eva Ibbotson's charming ONE DOG AND HIS BOY has a cleverly structured plot....But the greatest strength of this novel is how it shows the emptiness of materialism with believable characters who are good, bad and in between. 

When Hal meets Fleck, they become best friends instantly. Their first weekend is a joy, and Hal is perfectly responsible with his new pet. But when Hal returns from a dentist appointment on Monday, Fleck is gone --- returned to the pet rental when he was away. Heartbroken, he concocts a plan to steal Fleck from the shop and flee to his grandparents' house in Nourthumberland. His grandparents have always wanted Hal to have a dog, and they will surely take care of both Hal and Fleck. When he arrives at the shop, though, he finds Pippa, Kayley's younger sister, who is substituting for a very ill Kayley. Rather than stopping Hal from taking Fleck, Pippa encourages him, and when Hal leaves, Pippa releases four poor, unloved purebred dogs from their cages.

Soon, Hal and Pippa are traveling together with the five dogs on a haphazard journey from London to Northumberland, making friends --- and enemies --- along the way. They have to reach Hal's grandparents before the private investigator chasing them catches up --- but what will become of the dogs when they do?

Eva Ibbotson's charming ONE DOG AND HIS BOY has a cleverly structured plot, with nothing extraneous and no ends left untied. Her classic Ibbotson style resonates well with the modern setting. But the greatest strength of this novel is how it shows the emptiness of materialism with believable characters who are good, bad and in between. The book's sweet message about what truly matters in life makes it great for children and adults alike, and would be a good choice to read aloud --- but beware!  If you don't already have a canine friend in your life, you may need to find one when you finish!

Reviewed by Quinn Colter on January 13, 2014

One Dog and His Boy
by Eva Ibbotson

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545351960
  • ISBN-13: 9780545351966