The Latchkey Dog

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-When Sam's father leaves and his mother goes to work, his golden retriever is lonely and disturbs the neighbors. Told that he must give Amber away, the boy tries a variety of ways to keep his pet, from offering her to an elderly neighbor to keeping her up all night to change her sleeping habits. Thinking that Sam's problems are a result of staying at home after school without adult supervision, his mother places him and his younger sister in a program at Happy Days Day Care Center, which takes in not only young children but also elderly people who can't be left home alone. This story begins with a child's dilemma and ends with a most satisfying conclusion, not only for Sam and his dog, but also for the people at the day-care center. Auch's approach to a problem in contemporary society is deftly handled, and her characters are completely believable. Black-and-white drawings scattered throughout enhance the action. Children will respond to Sam's ingenuity and will be reassured to see that there are many ways to solve problems creatively.-Jana R. Fine, Clearwater Public Library System, FL
Kay Weisman
After Sam's father moves out and his mother takes a full-time job, no one is left at home to entertain Amber, the family's friendly pet. The lonely golden retriever expresses her frustrations by barking all day, thus annoying the elderly neighbors. In desperation, Mom decides the only solution is to put Amber up for adoption. Sam tries everything he can think of to change her mind and the dog's behavior (including taking Amber to the beach for an all-night romp in hopes that she will sleep the next day), with predictably disastrous and hilarious results. Eventually, everyone gives in a little--Mom arranges to work at home some days; a friend's father agrees to dog-sit on the other days; and Sam and Amber become volunteers after school at a local day-care/senior center. An appealing cast of characters, the humorous yet believable situations, and a strong sense of family highlight this easy chapter book, making it a good choice as a read-aloud or a read-alone. Illustrated with pen-and-ink sketches.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316059169
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    The Latchkey Dog

    ISBN 0316059161 ¿ Dog stories and kids¿ books. Can there be a better combination? I can¿t imagine what it might be, unless it was Christmas dog stories and kids¿ books. With that in mind, Latchkey Dog seemed like a no-brainer to me! Sam has a dog named Amber who loves people so much that being left home alone is too much for the pup, who barks relentlessly when she¿s left alone. Amber is left alone quite a bit now, because Sam¿s mother, who recently became a single parent when she got divorced, has to work. When their neighbor, Mrs. Watson, complains, Sam¿s mother decides that Amber will have to go to a new home. That¿s not even the end of the bad news. It¿s beginning to look like Amber will be going to live with Meredith Rumsey, the rottenest person in the world. Sam¿s got to find a way to keep Amber quiet or face losing her for good. The illustrations inside, by Cat Bowman Smith, remind me vaguely of the Dennis the Menace comic strip, although not as good. Sam¿s efforts, both botched and successful, to solve his problem are amusing and send a good message about persistence- and a bit of a bad message about the lines you shouldn¿t cross (sneaking out at night, leaving his little sister home alone, etc). Amber¿s connection to the old folks at Happy Days is touching and Sam¿s relationship with his sister is realistic most of the time. My only real gripes are that the resolution felt incomplete because grouchy, complaining neighbor Mrs. Watson should have been mentioned and wasn¿t and Sam¿s parents¿ divorce, while mentioned, didn¿t rate much more than Sam¿s periodic sorrow that he could no longer play one parent against the other. Still a nice story, especially for dog lovers! - AnnaLovesBooks, 2008

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