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Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Shiloh Book Poster Image
In taut, unforgettable drama, nothing is simple.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marty lies to his parents and others, sneaks out, and acts deceitfully.


A German shepherd savages Shiloh; Judd beats his dogs. Every scene Judd is in is frightening; the German shepherd attacks Shiloh.


Rare mild religious profanity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Judd drinks and chews tobacco.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids love this edge-of-the-seat story of a boy going up against a really scary mean man to protect an abused dog.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycaitlin89 September 17, 2009

Really good!

I read this book and it broke my heart to see someone abuse an animal like that! I read it once and that was it! It was a great book, but I still can't get... Continue reading
Parent Written bymic9999 November 21, 2014


It is about a boy who finds dog and becomes attached . His parents found out and the boy gives the dog back to the owner. The man drinks and smokes and chea... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMisty waterfall January 4, 2011

Perfect for older kids

IT WAS A GREAT BOOK. There was some violence so dont let young kids read the book. I love dogs so dog books are good for me.
Teen, 13 years old Written bysqwert90 October 7, 2014

worst book i've ever read!

this book was the worst book i've ever read. my whole class had to read it for an assignment. almost everone in the class complained about grammar. it obvi... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Marty hides a beagle from Judd Travers, the meanest man around, he thinks he's protecting the dog from abuse. But it means lying to his parents and sneaking around. Worse, Shiloh ends up in more danger than ever. Nothing is simple in this taut, unforgettable drama.


Is it any good?

This nerve-wracking and memorable story challenges readers to think for themselves -- and refuses to make things easy.

At first, the situation in SHILOH seems clear: Judd is mean, and Marty is heroically trying to protect a defenseless dog. But things soon become less clear-cut, and Marty's actions inadvertently cause Shiloh to suffer far more seriously than he did at Judd's hands. And keeping Shiloh away from Judd seems to drag Marty increasingly into behavior that he knows is wrong. He slides rapidly down the slope of the ends justifying the means, which are increasingly dishonest.

Finally, Marty's choices narrow to trying to decide on the lesser of evils, rather than choosing what is clearly right, and in the end the biggest lesson the book seems to teach is that nothing is as simple as it seems. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about right and wrong.

  • Do you ever feel mixed up about what's right and what's wrong?

  • Is Marty justified in keeping secrets from his family?

  • Do you think the deal between Marty and Judd is fair?

Book details

For kids who love animal friends

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