Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: Sheep (dog, children)

Sheep, by Valerie Hobbs (Scholastic, 2006, $5.99 [PB], 115 pages, ages 8 - 12)


You would think by the title of this book that it would be about sheep, right?


It is less about sheep* and more (much more) about a dog - albeit a sheepdog - named Blackie, then Shep, then Spot, then Sparky, then Jack, . . . .

Reminiscent of Beautiful Joe, of Black Beauty and of other familiar dog stories, Sheep has 15 delightful chapters about a border collie pup-dog and how he grows up, studies sheep, dreams of sheep, goes off to live in various situations through various circumstances and then – will he be able to save a little boy that he gets to call his own at last?

Constantly Seeking Sheep

Border collies have one job that they do best – herding sheep. That is Jack’s purpose in life – exciting and scary and challenging. But as he passes through one living situation after another, some good and some less so, he seldom has a job to do, the one he was born to do, so he is constantly seeking sheep.

The Goat Man, the hoboes, the shelter, the circus with its humiliatingly hard tricks, the little girl who only wants to dress him up but where he sleeps outside alone in his own doghouse, and finally to a boy he wants to call his own who needs him.

A Classic

What Jack learns as his life adventures unfold is a heartwarming story with plenty of “discussion stops” along the way for kids, both boys and girls, and adults alike.

If it’s Scholastic, you know it’s got to be a good read – for the whole family. My only question is: When is the movie coming out? It will be as memorable as The Incredible Journey (Homeward Bound).

*There are a few sheep scattered around the book.

Disclaimer: I checked this book out of my public library.
This review first appeared at ColumbiaPatch.com on 3 December 2013.

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