Monday, February 02, 2004

The Boy Who Spoke Dog--Clay Morgan

I groaned when I got this book. "Oh no, not another juvenile book!" I foolishly thought.

I was wrong.

Although the cover looks a bit juvenile and some might automatically assume a story about a dog will be for kids, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. The first couple of chapters had some typos and that threw me off, but the more I kept reading, the more I *had* to read. I couldn't put it down. It's a story of an orphan who is working as a cabin boy on a ship. One night there's a violent storm and the captain thinks the best way to save Jack's life is to tie him to wool that will float and throw him overboard! Jack washes up on a deserted island off the coast of New Zealand. There are no humans on the island, but there are dogs and sheep. There are two sets of dogs--the shephard dogs who still protect the flock, despite the lack of human commands, and the fangos, the wild dogs that live in the woods and attack the sheep. The fangos have lost their bark, their purpose, without the humans to instruct them. Jack becomes embroiled in the war between the two dog clans and actually learns how to communicate with them.
This is a great story. The complex human-dog relationship is portrayed beautifully. Aside from the first few editorial mistakes, it is written well. Jack's part of the story is exciting and full of adventure. Moxie, the first dog to befriend him, also narrates the story in alternating chapters. Her part is thoughtful and intelligent and really examines humans and why humans are dog's best friend!

It's a solid middle school read, but anyone with a four-legged friend at home would enjoy it!

If you have access to VOYA, you'll have the pleasure of reading my official review when it comes out however many months from now (June 2004 issue)!

Just Finished Reading: The Boy Who Spoke Dog--Clay Morgan
Reading: Hard Cash--Kate Cann
On My Nightstand: Stravaganza City of Stars--Hoffman

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