This was Eva Ibbotson's last book before she died and is a fitting tribute to her remarkable talent. She has achieved the unachievable and written a story about animals that I actually enjoyed and not only that made me care about a group of fictional dogs, something I never thought I would say. A truly lovely story that will charm adults and entrance children. Story: The classic story of the child whose parents lavish presents and all that money can buy on the child and yet don't understand why they are unhappy.
Hal's father works long hours and is forever jetting off around the globe. Hal's mother drinks coffee with her friends, shops and endlessly redecorates. Hal is their only child and all he wants is a dog but his mother cannot stand the thought of something so dirty and disorganised in her perfect house. His parents think that have hit on the perfect idea when the come across the Easy Pets Agency which allows rich people to hire pedigree dogs for the hour or the weekend. The stray mongrel, Fleck, has ended up in there by accident when the kennel maid convinces the corrupt owners that he is a new breed in order to look after him.
Hal is distraught when Fleck is returned and sets out to rescue Fleck and go and live with his grandparents in Northumberland.
However he accidentally picks up Pippa, the kennel maids younger sister and a lovable group of dogs she has released from Easy Pets Agency. As they travel across the country they try to stay safe and all find somewhere they feel is home.
It's a lovely, uncomplicated story with a clear message about love and family. Characters: I never thought I would say this but the real stars of the show are the ragtag bunch of dogs that Hal and Fleck collect on their escape.
Ibbotson manages to give them all likeable and believable characters without resorting into sentimentality and cheesiness. Thankfully she does not have the dogs speaking but goes down the line of they are able to commuicate with each other and understand what humans are saying to them which allows them enough personality to be appealing without bleeding into complete fantasy. All the dogs find somewhere they feel at home at on their journey north but continue with Hal, Pippa and Fleck to help them find Hal's grandparents.
Of course being a children's book they end up being able to go and live at these places, which is heavily signposted from the outset but I imagine children will enjoy the suspense of the dogs having to decide what to do.
One Dog and His Boy - Listening Books - OverDrive
Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! But a dog would damage the expensive carpets in Hal's glamorous home, and his wealthy parents refuse to consider one. Then they discover Easy Pets, a convenient dog-rental agency. Terrier Fleck arrives on Hal's birthday, but when Hal discovers that his dog must be returned, he runs away. Hal and Fleck are joined by a group of pedigree breeds joyfully escaping from Easy Pets - among them is Otto, the wise and sombre St Bernard, and the fierce and excitable Pekinese Li-Chee.
A large reward is offered for the missing boy, and soon Hal and his dogs are being chased across the country by ruthless pursuers. Helped by a travelling circus, and the sympathetic children from an orphanage, they race for their freedom in a classic adventure in the tradition of Dalmatians. Every dog-loving child will adore this irresistible story from a truly great and much-loved children's author.
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