Lucky Boy

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Overview

Always on the go, to work and to school, and shopping on the weekends, the Gustin family fill their lives with things more important than their little brown dog. So Boy spends most days alone, in the fenced backyard, feeling vaguely unloved and growing fat- until the day he decides to dig himself out. With sensitivity and skill, Susan Boase reminds us that every dog deserves his day- and perhaps, if we are truly fortunate, at day's end, we will find companionship and love.

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Overview

Always on the go, to work and to school, and shopping on the weekends, the Gustin family fill their lives with things more important than their little brown dog. So Boy spends most days alone, in the fenced backyard, feeling vaguely unloved and growing fat- until the day he decides to dig himself out. With sensitivity and skill, Susan Boase reminds us that every dog deserves his day- and perhaps, if we are truly fortunate, at day's end, we will find companionship and love.

A neglected dog finds a real home with a grieving widower who needs a friend.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The warmth and humor of newcomer Boase's polished prose revitalizes what might otherwise seem a predictable tale, and her sepia pencil drawings underscore the simplicity of her theme. The softly shaded and cross-hatched lines convey the story's innate tenderness." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Just a quiet, gentle story for one-on-one sharing, especially in families with lucky dogs of their own." Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This splendidly told dog story finds a pair of neighbors one two-legged, the other four-legged mired in loneliness until chance brings them together. Confined by a high wooden fence to a barren back yard, Boy, a small brown, "kind of stinky" dog, is neglected and bored ("There wasn't much to look at; he had looked"). Next door lives elderly Mr. Miller, recently widowed and struggling with his loss ("He knew his wasn't the only broken heart in the world, but it certainly felt like it"). One night Boy digs his way under the fence, and when Mr. Miller discovers him in his yard the following morning seemingly dropped from nowhere, as Boy's tunnel is disguised by the compost pile it's love at first sight. A bath reveals Boy to be white, not brown, and he's allowed to do all manner of new things: come inside, jump on a bed, ride in a car and go for a walk on a leash. It's hard to say who's happier: "You and I are lucky to have found each other, Boy!" says Mr. Miller. The warmth and humor of newcomer Boase's polished prose revitalizes what might otherwise seem a predictable tale, and her sepia pencil drawings underscore the simplicity of her theme. The softly shaded and cross-hatched lines convey the story's innate tenderness. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The Gustins pick up a dog one day from a box labeled "free." But he is never part of their lives. They call him "Boy," feed him, but leave him in the yard alone all the time. His only distraction is watching the mailman make his rounds. Old Mr. Miller lives next door, alone and also lonely. This lengthy but heart-warming story brings the two together for a satisfying ending, making him Lucky Boy at last. Sepia pencil drawings of the appealingly sentimental scenes move from Boy's boring life to his fresh and happy involvement with Miller. The naturalistic pictures create the lives of the animated main characters as well as the landscape and Lucky's starry night. 2002, Houghton Mifflin Company,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Lucky Boy is an appealing fox terrier who isn't so lucky as the story begins. Neglected by his busy family, Boy (as in "Here, Boy" or "Down, Boy") is bored by his unchanging surroundings. When the little brown dog digs a hole under the fence, he encounters the lonely widower next door, who cleans him up and discovers that he's actually white. The pup lifts the old man's spirits and makes him laugh, thus earning his new name, Lucky Boy. Though he's only escaped next door, the oblivious family doesn't catch on, and are frankly relieved to have gotten rid of him. The author tries to sugarcoat the family's neglectful treatment, indeed, abuse of the animal, and this is too serious an issue to be treated so lightly. Their behavior is never directly confronted or condemned. Boase's expressive pencil illustrations are a delight, and completely capture the nature, joy, and essence of Lucky Boy. The art is reminiscent of Gabrielle Vincent's splendid drawings for A Day, A Dog (Front St., 2000). Unfortunately, even such wonderful pictures and a happy ending cannot compensate for the tale's failures.-Robin L. Gibson, Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Newcomer Boase offers a sweet tale of a dog that finds a loving home with a lonely older man who has recently lost his wife. At first the dog is just called Boy, a forlorn and unwanted dog who has to live in the backyard while his busy owners go about their business. He tunnels under the fence and into the neighbor's garden (and straight into the man's lonely heart), finding warmth and companionship. The man gives the dog his first bath, changing his fur color from brown to white and his name from Boy to Lucky Boy. (The neighbors haven't bothered to look for their brown dog, and don't even recognize the white dog as theirs when they see him.) The story is rather long and the characters' emotions are told rather than shown, but the genuine need and love between the widower and the dog are touching nonetheless. Boase's soft-focus pencil illustrations are reproduced in brown with matching brown type, with a wide variation in illustration size and perspective. No new ground is covered here; just a quiet, gentle story for one-on-one sharing, especially in families with lucky dogs of their own. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618131754
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/26/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

First-time author and illustrator Susan Boase has loved dogs since childhood. Susan lives with her husband and their two very lucky fox terriers in Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2002

    endearing story

    Lucky Boy is a beautiful wonderful story. It brings out how some families may take on more than they can handle and yet, good still comes from it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2002

    Enjoyable...a keeper

    My 4 and 6 year old love it. It has beautiful illustrations. Very simple, in black and white. It has lots of words for a picture book and holds their attention for a while. The story itself is sweet. It makes kids smile and parents think. It is certainly a book I am glad to have in hardcover and plan on keeping for a while.

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