cover image Felix Powell, Boy Dog

Felix Powell, Boy Dog

Erin Entrada Kelly. Greenwillow, $18.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-06333-716-9

In this engaging novel by Kelly (The First State of Being), eminently likable, curious eight-year-old Felix, who cues as white, is inexplicably drawn to a seemingly nondescript blanket in a thrift shop. Bearing his purchase, he returns to the home he shares with his nan (the kind of grandmother who serves dessert as dinner once a month). While playing hide-and-seek with his faithful dog Mary Puppins, Felix crawls under the blanket, and when Puppins uncovers him, boy and pet are startled to discover Felix has become a dog. Beguiling descriptions of the expanded sensitivity of Felix’s sense of smell and hearing as well as the joy of running on four legs follow as Puppins teaches him all about being a dog, including the subtleties of tail wagging. Though he’s elated by his transformation, Felix worries about Nan and how she will feel when she can’t find him. Meanwhile, Felix and Puppins’s interactions with a snooty cat engage readers in a cat-vs.-dog superiority contest that tests Felix’s understanding of friendship. Short chapters create a well-paced narrative with an appropriate amount of suspense, while Kelly’s plentiful b&w drawings enhance the friendly ambiance, occasionally taking over the storytelling. Overall, it’s a just-right book for a developing reader. Ages 8–12. (July)