Monday, 21 March 2011
How much is that doggy...
One Dog and His Boy - Eva Ibbotson
I've been a fan of Eva Ibbotson for years, since I was a teenager in fact, and I was very sad to hear of her death last autumn. She is one author I always wanted to meet but never managed to. Journey to the River Sea is one of the books I would take to my proverbial desert island.
I was so excited to win an advance copy of this, Ibbotson's last novel, thanks to an offer run by the Reading Agency and Scholastic.
The book didn't disappoint at all.
From page one I identified with the book - a boy is desperate for a dog but for various reasons isn't allowed one. It is family legend that when I was asked if I wanted a brother or sister I replied that I wanted a puppy...*
Hal's parents decide that to cure him of his obsession by renting him a dog for the weekend. Sadly they forget to say that it is just for a short time and he thinks Fleck is for life. Hal is distraught when Fleck is returned to the kennels, as is the dog.
An amazing plan is hatched and the rest of the story is a madcap adventure across England.
In many ways the book is a little far fetched, especially in this day and age when every one seems to have a mobile phone but it doesn't matter. The writing is beautiful, the characters endearing and the illustrations delightful.
This is a book for Ibbotson's fans, animal lovers and fans of gentle adventure stories like the Famous Five. It has something for everyone in it.
Personally I do prefer Ibbotson's historical romances if I am honest but this is a wonderful book that I will certainly be giving as a gift to everyone appropriate. I am sad that there will (in all likelihood) be no more books form Eva Ibbotson but this is certainly a high to go out on!
*I'd better just add that in the 30 years since this incident my sister has grown on me and I wouldn't swap her for a puppy any longer!
Many thanks to Scholastic for the advance copy. The book will be published in May.