cover image Angus and Sadie

Angus and Sadie

Cynthia Voigt. HarperCollins Publishers, $16.99 (194pp) ISBN 978-0-06-074582-0

Newbery Medalist Voigt (Dicey\x92s Song) offers a bighearted novel that playfully and affectingly combines human and canine perspectives of life on a farm. Mister and Missus, a young Maine couple, adopt two littermates that are part border collies. The author gives them distinctive personalities: adventuresome, confident Angus is a quick learner and a natural herder; smaller Sadie is initially timid and easily distracted, yet becomes increasingly independent and brave\x97and gracefully dances with moths. The extremely eager-to-please pair will as easily endear themselves to readers as they do to their new owners. At first, the puppies\x92 conversation, presented in italics, is limited to the simplest utterances (\x93Hungry! Me, too!\x94). Yet as they grow, so do their vocabularies\x97and their contributions to the narrative. In addition to quoting Angus and Sadie directly, the text slips in and out of their thoughts, which occasionally creates some awkward, though comprehensible, sentences (\x93Also very bad was to grab two corners of the seed trays Missus had set out on a low table, and pull as hard as you could, twisting your heads, pulling, until the dirt all spilled out and the tray broke\x94). Their owners\x92 attempts at training the pups bring about some wry results, as well as entertaining comments from the trainees. The strongest element of this folksy tale is the sibling rapport between the canines, a credible combination of competition and support. Dog lovers will lap this up. Ages 8-12. (May)