cover image The Ghost of Greyfriar's Bobby

The Ghost of Greyfriar's Bobby

Ruth Brown, Eleanor Atkinson. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45581-3

Few readers will be able to resist this walk back in time by way of Scottish lore and captivating 19th-century townscapes. While they are touring Edinburgh, a sister and brother happen upon a fountain commemorating a dog named Bobby, buried within the adjacent churchyard. The church gardener invites the siblings in to see Bobby's grave and hear his tale. Here Brown (Copycat; The Picnic) works a bit of magic: time pivots backward on a single sentence and, as the youngsters enter the churchyard, the reader is transported into a seamless story-within-a-story. Atmospheric prose and beguiling full-spread watercolors unfold Bobby's life with his master, Old Jock. So devoted is Bobby that when Old Jock dies, the dog keeps vigil by his grave for 14 years, earning the love of the townspeople and a secure place in oral history. A heartwarming tale, memorably rendered. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)