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Eliza's Dog

Eliza's Dog

by Betsy Gould Hearne, Erica Thurston (Illustrator), Erica Thurston (Illustrator)
Ten-year-old Eliza is finally allowed to have a puppy, a sheepdog that she falls in love with at the end of a vacation in Ireland. Eliza thinks it's going to be perfect having a dog around the house, but she soon discovers that caring for a puppy is not all fun and games.


Ten-year-old Eliza is finally allowed to have a puppy, a sheepdog that she falls in love with at the end of a vacation in Ireland. Eliza thinks it's going to be perfect having a dog around the house, but she soon discovers that caring for a puppy is not all fun and games.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Summering with her parents in Ireland, nine-year-old Eliza gets what she has wanted for a very long time: a dog of her own. She spends the rest of the vacation worrying-unnecessarily, as it turns out-that the sheepdog, Panda, will outgrow her travel crate before the family boards the plane home to Illinois. Readers get a manageable dose of the nitty-gritty details of Panda's training, a process which, though more taxing than she'd expected, doesn't faze Eliza (who defensively tells her skeptical mother, "Well, I like Panda even if she does pee and poop and throw up"). Curiously, given the pooch's star billing, the novel fails to give the reader a real handle on Panda's personality. Eliza's, however, shines through radiantly, as Hearne shapes a convincing portrait of a feisty, resourceful girl who learns several monumental lessons in a short time, among them the responsibilities that go along with dog ownership and the importance of compromise in her relationships with her parents, sister and best friend. It's an amiable offering, and younger dog lovers may lap up the canine-related particulars, but it's hardly among Hearne's (Eli's Ghost; South Star) more disctinctive novels. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-While vacationing in Ireland, nine-year-old Eliza convinces her parents to let her have the puppy she has always wanted. She hopes that a dog will help make her life less programmed and provide relief from being stuck in an adult world. The border collie she selects gives her a quick dose of reality in terms of responsibility, along with a lot of unequivocal love. The dilemma the family soon faces is whether Panda will grow too big to be able to return with them to the U. S. in a carry-on cage. Fortunately, she just fits. Concerned primarily with her own needs and desires when the story begins, Eliza becomes much less self-centered as she cares for Panda, and when she finds a half-starved stray she compassionately and successfully argues for adopting it as well. The story clearly sends the message that owning a dog entails hard work. The characters are convincingly drawn, although at times the dialogue seems to go on for too long. The story has neither the easy warmth and humor found in Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books (Morrow), which also portray the daily lives of a middle class family, nor the intensity found in dog stories such as Phyllis Naylor's Shiloh (Atheneum, 1991) or Linda Oatman High's Hound Heaven (Holiday, 1995), which are real page turners.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Lauren Peterson
Eliza's parents both work at the university, so the family spends all summer traveling together. Even so, Eliza is lonely, and a dog is the only thing that will comfort her. During a vacation in Ireland, Eliza spots the dog of her dreams--a beautiful black-and-white sheepdog pup. She manages to convince her reluctant parents to buy Panda and take her back to Chicago. The remainder of the story focuses on Eliza's adventures with her pup--some funny, one nearly fatal, all heartwarming. A small black-and-white sketch of Panda heads each chapter, marking the dog's growth. Although the plot lacks the driving force that would turn the book into a page-turner, the sweet story of puppy love will certainly find a place in the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.
Kirkus Reviews
After a long, carefully plotted campaign, Eliza's parents let her have a puppy, a border collie she finds while on vacation in Ireland. There are still many obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is getting the dog home to America. Panda is fairly well behaved and intelligent, which makes the usual trials of housebreaking and training a bit easier than usual, though still a source of amusement. Eliza is part military strategist (plotting all her moves precisely), part lawyer (arguing any point until she wears down the opposition), and thoroughly spoiled, which makes her rather less than appealing as a protagonist. Hearne (Polaroid, 1991, etc.) has created a heroine whose life is storybook-perfect, yet Eliza spends most of her time obsessing over her next acquisition. That would be fine if it were the point of the story, or if she improved by the end, but it isn't and she doesn't. There are moments of humor, and a terrific subplot about a report on Queen Elizabeth I. This book has appeal, mainly for other dog-obsessed children.

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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