Synopses & Reviews
When William’s father leaves, his mother promptly goes out and adds four dogs and a cat to their lives. William’s sure that nothing can fill the hole left by his father, but the new additions to the family are determined to help, and with his sister, Elinor, and his mother, William will learn that “family” can come in all shapes and sizes.
"Newbery Medalist MacLachlan tackles the familiar yet always heart-wrenching subject of parental separation in her venerable spare and moving style. 'It was early on a Saturday summer morning when my mother and father stopped arguing and Papa walked away,' begins William, a fourth-grader who is quietly shaken and angry at his father's departure. He is astounded when his mother, engulfed by emotion, immediately drives him and his four-year-old sister, Elinor, to the pound, where they bring home all four dogs they find, plus a cat. The characters are individualistic, believable, and likable, and the impulsive acquisition and heartwarming presence of the animals suggest an affecting work of realistic fiction. MacLachlan moves it into fantasy, however, by creating voices wise ones for each of the dogs, which Elinor can immediately hear; the others must open themselves to the possibility of magic before they come to hear the dogs, as well. While the talking animals initially feel like a contrivance, they bring an amusing and uplifting tenderness to this story of a family working to trust again readers facing similar turmoil will wish they had such a source of support. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Newbery Medalist MacLachlan tackles the familiar yet always heart-wrenching subject of parental separation in her venerable spare and moving style.... The characters are individualistic, believable, and likable, and the impulsive acquisition and heartwarming presence of the animals suggest an affecting work of realistic fiction."--Publishers Weekly
"MacLachlan writes with simplicity and limpid clarity, acknowledging strong emotions evoked by the fathers departure and depicting the events that follow with sensitivity and bits of humor."--Booklist
"Newbery Medal-winning author Patricia MacLachlan has written a captivating and charming book with just the right amount of magic, love and family bonding that will delight readers of all ages."--Kidsreads.com
* "The spare prose, in Williams authentic voice, conveys pathos and humor; the boys cautious observations and Papas earnest explanations are offset by Elinors droll one-liners and the dogs succinct comments. Deft characterization adds richness and depth to a deceptively simple narrative, and appealing charcoal pencil illustrations throughout reflect the action."--SLJ, starred review
"The combination of a fanciful plot and likable, honest, straightforward characters makes this a solid cross-genre work with lots of appeal. The animal voices add further interest, as the pets observe the emotions of the humans around them, particularly William, before the people are even aware of their own feelings. While this will obviously draw in fans of animal tales, it will also attract fans of realism willing to stretch."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
People may drift apart
But love can hold them together.
Sometimes we find that love through magic -
Sometimes that magic is all around us.
This is a story about all of these things.
But it's also a story about how
and one cat
help one boy
and his sister
save their family.
About the Author
Patricia MacLachlanandlt;bandgt; andlt;/bandgt;is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including andlt;iandgt;Sarah, Plain and Tallandlt;/iandgt;, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, andlt;iandgt;Skylarkandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Caleband#8217;s Storyandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;Edwardand#8217;s Eyesandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;The True Giftandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;Waiting for the Magicandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;White Fur Flyingandlt;/iandgt;; and andlt;iandgt;Fly Awayandlt;/iandgt;. She lives in western Massachusetts.Amy June Bates has illustrated many books for children, including andlt;iandgt;Thatandrsquo;s What Iandrsquo;d Doandlt;/iandgt; by singer-songwriter Jewel and andlt;iandgt;The Dog Who Belonged to No Oneandlt;/iandgt; by Amy Hest. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children. andnbsp;