The Junkyard Dog

Erika Tamar, Author, Bonforte, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $15 (185p) ISBN 978-0-679-87057-9
Demonstrating a deep understanding of preadolescent concerns, Tamar (Fair Game) produces a tough-edged but tender story about an 11-year-old and the dog she befriends. Big-hearted Katie can't stand to see a junkyard dog being starved by its owner and abused by a gang of boys in her ``mud-flat'' neighborhood. Her burly new stepfather, Jim Grady, will let Katie feed the dog, so long as she gets permission from its owner and pays for the dog food herself. Later, under Jim Grady's supervision and with the unlikely assistance of a rowdy classmate named Daniel, she constructs a waterproof dog house. Besides conveying a strong message about neglectful pet owners, Tamar deftly introduces a range of issues affecting her heroine-accepting a step-parent, coping with peer pressure and the vagaries of puberty; living in a housing project. Katie learns to make sacrifices and overcome frustrations, in the process gaining self-confidence and trust in others. This character truly earns the happy ending to her story, and it is one sure to satisfy readers. Ages 8-12. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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