What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that a clever story and evocative writing will keep animal lovers and adventure fans turning the pages.
What's the story?
Two dogs and a cat trek through hundreds of miles of Canadian wilderness to rejoin their family after a caretaker misundertands her instructions and accidentally forsakes them, in this lovely, gentle, and understated tale.
Is it any good?
Kids love survival novels because they identify with the characters and feel powerful and independent right along with the protagonists. The treat here is that the characters are animals, and act like real animals. These are not the usual talking animals in fetching outfits -- nothing in this book seem impossible for real-life cats and dogs.
The author, who knows animals intimately, conveys their wordless communication -- encouraging each other through eye contact and body language, mourning a companion who is assumed lost, or sharing the spoils of a hunt. There's plenty of action here, but like the animal's personalities, it's not over-the-top. Kids can easily imagine that they're crossing vast swaths of unpopulated land, and long stretches of quiet, forlorn beauty are punctuated by occasional terror, mishap, or joy. But readers who favor constant action over a story based on setting and mood may find the book slow going.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about loyalty. Do you think the story is realistic?
If you have pets, how do you feel toward them?
How do you think they feel toward you?