The bond formed between a dog and boy (or girl) is a lifelong friendship.
Author Eva Ibbotson understands this, as she demonstrates so beautifully in
her novel "One Dog and His Boy." The unconditional love the dog Fleck feels
for his human boy Hal, and Hal for him, will tug at your heartstrings
throughout this amusing and simply told tale.
Hal's 10th birthday is fast approaching, and once again he tries to make
his mother understand that all he wants is a dog. Hal is lonely. Changing
schools has left him with no real friends.
His mother does not, however, understand his desire. Dogs are messy,
noisy, and they shed. His very successful, jet-setting father leaves most
decisions to his Hal's mother, so it is unusual when he agrees to a dog.
Hal's mother is outraged until her husband explains that the dog will only
be rented for a few a days. Hal's father believes that will be long enough
for the boy to tire of a dog and go on to be interested in something else.
In the meantime, Kayley works as a kennel maid at Easy Pets, a
pet-renting agency. While getting takeout, Kayley's family discovers a stray
dog of mixed breeding. They cannot keep him in their rental, so she takes
him to work, convincing her employers he is a special new breed.
She loves and cares for all the dogs at the agency, but the ones who
share Room A are her favorites. That is where she installs the new dog she
names Fleck. His roommates are a St. Bernard named Otto, a Peke by the name
of Li Chee, a poodle called Francine, a collie who answers to the name of
Molly and a Mexican hairless called Queen Tilly.
Ibbotson gives each dog an amazing personality and creates a full
backstory of where and with whom they lived before ending up at the rental
agency. Each dog, including Fleck, has the same desire: to have a home where
they belong and humans to love.
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Of course Hal is unaware of the rental agreement his father is
signing as the boy scans the cages at Easy Pets, searching for just
the right dog. Hal looks at all of them, with Kayley at his side. He
knows as soon as he sees Fleck that this is "his" dog. It seems
Fleck feels the same. Both are ecstatic to have found each other.
Their lives are going to be filled with love and fun.
Hal's mother begrudgingly tolerates the dog, knowing he will be
gone soon. Hal's father leaves on another business trip, forcing the
return of the dog on his wife. When Hal comes back from the dentist,
Fleck is gone.
Both dog and boy are heartbroken. After learning of the trick his
parents pulled on him, Hal hatches a plan to steal Fleck and run
away from home. His plan almost works, until Kayley's sister Pippa
(who is filling in as kennel maid since her sister has the flu)
releases all the other dogs in Room A as well. Both children take
off together in hopes of finding sanctuary with Hal's grandparents.
The adventures and misadventures of the trip form the bulk of the
story. Each dog meets up with a special friend along the way,
finding a lasting home in the end. Even Hal's parents learn a great
deal about their son by the ending page. This is, however, a story
about the dogs. It is a story of friendship, loyalty and love.
Perhaps along the way a human being or two can catch a few hints as
We have many stories about dogs, cats and other pets at the
Lincoln Public Library. Or you may wish to check out another book by
Eva Ibbotson. Come in and see us soon.
[Text from file received from Louella Moreland,
Lincoln Public Library District]
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