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One Dog and His Boy

One Dog and His Boy

2.5 2
by Eva Ibbotson

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Award-winning author Eva Ibbotson's tale of a boy and dog who were meant to be together -- now in paperback.

All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. "Never!" cries his mother. "Think of the mess, the scratch-marks, the puddles on the floor." But on the morning of Hal's 10th birthday, the unbelievable happens. He's allowed to choose a dog at Easy Pets, a rent-a-pet


Award-winning author Eva Ibbotson's tale of a boy and dog who were meant to be together -- now in paperback.

All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. "Never!" cries his mother. "Think of the mess, the scratch-marks, the puddles on the floor." But on the morning of Hal's 10th birthday, the unbelievable happens. He's allowed to choose a dog at Easy Pets, a rent-a-pet agency (a fact his parents keep from him). The moment he sees the odd-looking terrier, he knows he's found a friend for life. But no one tells Hal that Fleck must be returned. When Hal wakes up on Monday morning, Fleck is gone. If dog and boy are to stay together they'll have to run away. . . .
From the renowned Eva Ibbotson comes a tale laced with humor and brimming over with heart, stunning in its beauty of the love of all things dog.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers who have grown to love Ibbotson’s bighearted heroes and larger-than-life adventure stories will relish this final novel, published after her death in 2010. It introduces Hal Fenton, a British boy who has everything except the thing he wants most, a dog. Mistakenly, Hal believes his wish has finally come true when his father lets him pick out a pup for his 10th birthday. When he finds out that Fleck, the terrier he’s chosen, is only rented for the weekend, Hal is understandably furious. Fueled by his rage, he sets out to retrieve Fleck from the Easy Pets shop and run away to Northumberland to live with his grandparents. Hal’s mission is complicated when four more dogs (and the girl who set them free) decide to come along. Traveling on foot, the group finds surprises aplenty as they meet villains (including a bumbling detective’s assistant hired by Hal’s parents) as well as advocates who offer refuge. In true Ibbotson form, the lives of unlikely acquaintances are colorfully threaded together, and all characters get exactly what they deserve. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stephanie Thwaites, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
"All Hal had ever wanted was a dog" (p.1) but his fastidious mother, Albina, will not even consider the mess that a dog would make in her beautiful and expensive home; and constantly tries to buy Hal off with expensive but unwanted gifts. Hal's largely absent father is too busy earning money in support of Albina's spending habits to care one way or another, but to take the pressure off, he rents a dog for Hal's birthday. Except he forgets to tell Hal that the dog he has picked out at Easy Pets is just for the weekend. When Hal comes home to find "Fleck" gone, he is truly inconsolable—and then he begins to plan. Putting his parents off the scent by agreeing to be sent away to boarding school, he plots to "rescue" Fleck. The plan goes slightly askew when he breaks into Easy Pets, only to find the relief kennel girl, Pippa, working late. She decides to release four of the other purebred dogs because she cannot stand to see them caged. Ultimately Pippa, Hal and their five furry companions take off across England to find Hal's grandparents on the coast of Northumberland. They have lots of adventures, make new friends, and when Hal's parents eventually catch up with them, Hal stands up for what is important to him—the only dog in the world he wants. This heart-warming story will engage boy and girl readers, especially those who like animals. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—In this—her last book—Ibbotson maintained her flair for characterization, madcap action, and a rollicking plotline. Hal has wanted a dog for as long as he can remember, but his status-hungry mother is more concerned with the pristine interior decoration of her home than the happiness of her son. His father is never home from work long enough to exert any sort of influence over the household. To Hal's delight, his father (having forgotten about his birthday) agrees to let him choose a dog the next morning. It's love at first sight. But to Hal's dismay-and that of the dog-Fleck is returned to the shop the next Monday because he was just rented for the weekend. Hal resolves to rescue Fleck and run away to the cottage by the sea where his sympathetic grandparents live and ends up abetting the escape of four other dogs, as well. Hal's parents hire a private eye and advertise a reward for the boy's return, so a host of nefarious characters pursues the runaways on their long journey, which involves side excursions to a circus, an orphanage, and a night with a sheep farmer. All of these complications provide ample play for Ibbotson's gentle chiding of human foibles and pretensions as well as a conclusion in which each dog has found the perfect home and Hal's parents have repented and reformed. This satisfying novel combines humor with heart to great effect—a lovely parting gift from the masterful storyteller.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In Ibbotson's final book, all 10-year-old Hal Fenton has ever wanted is a dog of his own, but his wealthy, shallow parents think a brief dog-rental will resolve his yearning. Every aspect of the Fenton household's appearance is perfect, and a dog is an unwelcome addition. Mr. Fenton rents Fleck, a white mutt inappropriately placed at the Easy Pets agency, run by the evil Carkers, a couple interested only in making money. Fortunately for the 50 purebred dogs they rent out, gentle, impoverished Kayley runs the kennel. Bereft after his parents slyly return Fleck to the agency, Hal steals the dog and sets out for his grandparents' cottage in the north of England. He's joined unexpectedly by a motley gang of five other kennel escapees and Kayley's kind-hearted younger sister, Pippa, who has released them. In a series of remarkably fortunate encounters, the dogs' sagacious skills help the children on their perilous journey. Characters are painted with a broad brush; they are either very, very good or quite nasty, although some of the latter, like Hal's parents, have the opportunity for atonement. The amusing hyperbole Ibbotson employs to great effect turns this pet story into a classic Dahl-like adventure. A rousing, slightly surreal tale of rescue and redemption, this effort will appeal to animal lovers everywhere. (Adventure. 9-14)
From the Publisher

"This satisfying novel combines humor with heart to great effect–a lovely parting gift from the masterful storyteller." -- School Library Journal
"Ibbotson’s final book is a story with the heart of Lassie and the satirical bite of Roald Dahl . . . as funny as it is satisfying." --Booklist

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Eva was the author of twenty novels for children and adults. Her first was published in 1975, and her last is the joyous ONE DOG AND HIS BOY. Eva's books have been shortlisted for every major children’s literary prize in the UK, and JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA won the Gold Smarties Award in 2001.

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One Dog and His Boy 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good to see the point of view from everyone to include the dogs. The friendship between dogs and people. Plus what kids would go through to do the right thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago