The Puppy Sister

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Puppy Sister Book Poster Image
Joyous story about the power of family love.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Nick and Aleasha do some typical sibling bickering.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this has a powerful message of how family love overcomes sibling rivalry.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bypeony April 9, 2008

Delightful. Great choice for young, independent readers.

The realistic sibling ambivalence of the human boy Nick, and the believably dog-like emotional reactions and understandings of his puppy-sister Aleasha, help ma... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Growing up is never easy, but changing from a dog into a human is even harder! Nick's new puppy wants to be a part of the family so badly that she starts turning into a human girl. You'll grin from beginning to end of this joyous story about the power of family love.

Nick and his parents have just gotten their first dog, a pup they name Aleasha, and she is the narrator of the story. She is so determined to become one of the family that she begins to take on human characteristics; her snout, ears, and fur gradually recede, she learns to walk on two legs, and eventually she even begins to speak.

This all comes as a shock to the family, but they take it in stride, trying to keep it hidden from the rest of the world until she completes her transformation. But this kind of transformation causes problems. When she gets sick on Halloween candy, who to call--pediatrician or vet? What to do when she catches a foul ball with her teeth? And what's a cool kid to do with a sister who howls when she's scared or sad, and can smell his emotions?

Is it any good?

Hinton, known for her powerful looks at the rougher aspects of teenage society, has changed her perspective: Her first novel for middle-grade readers is an effervescent delight. In simple, easy-to-read language she tells a funny and involving story -- yet her theme is a serious one, of the transformative power of the love of one's family. And in this oddball fantasy, she keeps Nick and Aleasha's relationship so realistic that children recognize it right away.

The essence of this laugh-out-loud, enchanting book is captured in the black-and-white illustrations by Jacqueline Rogers. She shows Aleasha's transformation in a style that radiates both humor and warmth. The front and back covers, showing Nick and Aleasha dancing together for sheer joy, sum up the spirit of this hilarious, subtly poignant story of family love. Easy to read but appealing to all ages, it is perfect for young readers and makes a surefire family read-aloud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Aleasha's desire to join the family. If you have a pet, what is your pet's role in the family?

Book details

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