I adore the writing of Eva Ibbotson so it was with great joy I bought home One Dog and his Boy to read over the weekend. I loved this book so much I simply did not want it to end. It has so many things I love in a book – dogs, friendship, heroism, an action packed plot and a most satisfying ending.
This is the last book Eva Ibbotson wrote before she died in 2010 and that news has made me sad. Her books are all so varied. The horror scenes in Which Witch will stay with me forever and I constantly recommend Journey to the River sea to my senior Primary library students.
In One Dog and his Boy our hero is Hal. Hal is like the boy in the last Morris Gleitzman book I reviewed Too small to fail – he has rich rich rich parents who have no understanding of their son and who forbid him to have the one thing he really wants in life – a dog.
Near Hal’s home the Easy Pets Dog Agency has been set up by two unscrupulous people who are out to get money by providing dogs to fit the whims of fickle people. “They had realized that nowadays most people didn’t want anything to last for a long time. People changed their houses and their cars again and again; they changed their children’s schools… so why would they want to hang onto their dogs?” Myron and Mavis Carker have set up a dog rental agency using only the best pure bred dogs which are pampered and fully trained.
Hal has asked and asked for a dog as his next Birthday present. His mother disappoints him once again but later that night his father agrees Hal can have a dog. Quite wrongly these parents expect Hal will tire of his new pet and so hiring a dog from the Easy Pets dog agency seems the perfect solution. The complication comes when Hal finds Fleck at the agency and it is love at first sight for both of them. Fleck is not a pure bred dog, he is a stray but he is also a dog with a huge heart.
This book reminded me of What do you think Feezel by Elizabeth Honey, and of other books where the love between a boy or a girl and his or her dog lies at the heart of the plot. Books like Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds, Where the red fern grows by Wilson Rawls and Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo so if you are a dog lover you might look for all of these in your school library. You can read more of the plot here if you need to be convinced to read One dog and his boy.