Readers who have grown to love Ibbotson’s bighearted heroes and larger-than-life adventure stories will relish this final novel, published after her death in 2010. It introduces Hal Fenton, a British boy who has everything except the thing he wants most, a dog. Mistakenly, Hal believes his wish has finally come true when his father lets him pick out a pup for his 10th birthday. When he finds out that Fleck, the terrier he’s chosen, is only rented for the weekend, Hal is understandably furious. Fueled by his rage, he sets out to retrieve Fleck from the Easy Pets shop and run away to Northumberland to live with his grandparents. Hal’s mission is complicated when four more dogs (and the girl who set them free) decide to come along. Traveling on foot, the group finds surprises aplenty as they meet villains (including a bumbling detective’s assistant hired by Hal’s parents) as well as advocates who offer refuge. In true Ibbotson form, the lives of unlikely acquaintances are colorfully threaded together, and all characters get exactly what they deserve. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stephanie Thwaites, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012 Release date: 03/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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