This is a new book by Patricia MacLachlan, author and Newbery Medal winner of Sarah, Plain and Tall. I don’t often read books in the primary age range (from about 7-10), but I picked this one up anyway. And I’m very glad that I did read it – it is a very sweet story with charming characters.
Though it is sweet, there is also a very serious narrative at the heart of this book. It begins as William’s father abruptly leaves his family. In response, William’s mom takes him and his little sister Elinor to the pet shelter, and they adopt four dogs and a cat. Each dog has a distinct personality, and it soon becomes apparent that though William and his mom are remaining quiet about his father’s disappearance, the animals have lots to say. Indeed, the protective animals help the struggling family slowly pull itself back together. There is magic in hearing the animals, and it slowly spreads to everyone, alongside bravery, forgiveness, love and joy.
This is truly a captivating and comforting primary read, with lots of little laughs along the way.