cover image The Latchkey Dog

The Latchkey Dog

Mary Jane Auch. Little Brown and Company, $14.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-0-316-05916-9

If Sam doesn't come up with a plan quickly, he will have to give away his dog, Amber. Mom has gone back to work and lonely Amber barks all day long, disturbing the neighbors. Sam tries one scheme after another to help Amber, each time landing in trouble. Finally his mother has had enough: ``Sam, you are hereby grounded for the rest of your life.'' When Sam, an eight-year-old, is forced to join his little sister at a day-care center after school, his humiliation paves the way to a breakthrough--Amber can join him at the center, cheering up the ``seniors'' who are also there. Any reader who loves a pet will easily identify with Sam, admiring his ingenuity and perseverance while cheering him on to success, but it's too bad Auch didn't do a little more research--even though Mom likes Amber, she never thinks of trying to train her, and one scene shows the future candy striper canine growling and snapping at an elderly woman's hand. Ages 6-10. (Jan.)