Chester and Gus

Cammie McGovern. Harper, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-233068-0
Chester can’t talk; Gus can, sometimes, but it’s hard for him. Can they communicate and trust each other? Chester is a chocolate lab, and Gus is a fifth grader with autism whose family hopes he’ll be more interactive at school with Chester around. Chester may not have passed his service test (he’s skittish around loud noises), but he’s smart enough to know what “his person” needs, and he does a fine and believable job narrating this book. Always attentive to Gus, the boy’s ever-hopeful parents, and the kids and adults at school, Chester shows Gus’s struggle to convey his desires and be more independent. Chester has some similar difficulties, and McGovern (Just My Luck) emphasizes his eagerness and empathy, as well as his limitations: although Chester’s trainer convinces herself that the dog can read, Chester knows that’s silly. Meanwhile, readers can debate how literally to take the idea that Chester does find a way to talk—at least to those who are willing to listen. Whatever they decide, they’ll be charmed by Chester’s warmth and loyalty. Ages 8–12. Agent: Margaret Riley, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-233070-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-233069-7
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