cover image The Dog Who Lost His Bark

The Dog Who Lost His Bark

Eoin Colfer, illus. by P.J. Lynch. Candlewick, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0442-1

In this story of friendship and belonging, a mistreated dog and a persistent boy forge a relationship based on kindness and patience. A nameless puppy lives in constant fear of punishment after being adopted from “the loud man” with the “sour smell” by a family whose child calls him “STUPIDDOG.” Abandoned in a junkyard, the hound lands in a shelter; there, he meets Patrick, a boy who feels an instant connection with him. Patrick insists on bringing the dog home to his grandfather’s house, where he’s staying with his mother while his musician father is away on a worryingly long tour. Associating barking with “big trouble,” the pup, now named Oz, is silent, but Patrick is determined to gain the his trust and free his voice. Colfer (the Artemis Fowl series) makes use of capital letters to incorporate Oz’s point of view, and Lynch (Patrick and the President) contributes detailed black-and-white pencil drawings that convey the novel’s emotional core through body language and facial expressions. Ultimately a story about connection and trust, this offering also communicates a clear and impactful message, at times through cruel and upsetting moments, about animal treatment and the responsibility of pet ownership. Ages 7–10.[em] (Sept.) [/em]