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White Fur Flying

White Fur Flying

3.3 3
by Patricia MacLachlan

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A young boy tries to find his voice with the help of some four-legged friends in this novel from the Newbery-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. There is always the sweet smell of dog and a warm body looking to cuddle or play. There is always a new dog to be saved and loved. Fur flies everywhere.


A young boy tries to find his voice with the help of some four-legged friends in this novel from the Newbery-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. There is always the sweet smell of dog and a warm body looking to cuddle or play. There is always a new dog to be saved and loved. Fur flies everywhere. It covers everything. Zoe’s house is never silent.

But the house across the street is always silent these days. A new family has moved in and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try.

Zoe knows that saving dogs and saving boys are different jobs, but she learns that some parts are the same. Both take attention and care, understanding and time. And maybe just a bit of white fur flying.

From Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan, White Fur Flying is an endearing tale of companionship and hope.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
MacLachlan crafts an elegantly spare novel about the healing power of dogs and love—much as she did in 2011’s Waiting for the Magic, though this story sticks to realism, forgoing the talking animals of that book. Narrator Zoe Cassidy and her 10-year-old younger sister, Alice (“the storyteller of the family”), enjoy a warm, animal-centric life with their parents: their father is a veterinarian, and their mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs. When an enigmatic and silent nine-year-old boy named Phillip moves in with a dour couple across the street, the family gradually defrosts the relationship with help from its houseful of dogs. Zoe’s joyful household contrasts starkly with Phillip’s quiet one, living with two relatives who are caring for him while his parents “solve a problem.” Kodi (a hulking Great Pyr) and a cheeky parrot named Lena are the first to encourage Phillip’s thaw. MacLachlan builds tension when Phillip and another dog, Jack, disappear during a storm. A graceful and quiet narrative with keen observations on how time and affection can remedy pain. Ages 7–up. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)
"MacLachlan delivers yet another understated, quietly inspirational chapter book with this tale.... This is tailor-made for beginning readers looking for a gentle handling of powerfully felt emotions."
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
This is a charmer of a story about the power of dogs to help heal an emotionally wounded boy. It is also the story of the rescue and nurture of abandoned animals—in this case Great Pyrenees, who come with mounds of fluffy white hair. At first the boy, Phillip, will not speak to anyone, but soon he starts talking to the dogs and bonds with a newly rescued pup named Jack. When Jack runs away in the middle of a rainy night, Phillip goes off to find him. Zoë, the story’s narrator, knows where to look for both of them. Phyllis, the woman taking care of Phillip, panics and feels it is her fault that Phillip ran off. Zoë does find Phillip and Jack asleep in a barn full of hay and falls asleep herself. When she awakes, Phillip is talking up a storm. Then Zoë’s mom comes in with the family’s dog and they all walk home together. Phyllis is not the prickly pear everyone thought her to be and even lets the dogs sleep on her beautiful velvet-covered sofa. The only quibble with the book is the setting. It is hard to tell how much property Zoë’s family owns, because they can see Phillip’s house across the field and stream quite clearly, but somewhere abutting Zoë’s property are cow and horse pastures. Still, this is such a lovely story, do not let inconsistencies with setting keep you from reading it. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan; Ages 7 to 9.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Life is never dull for Zoe and Alice. Their mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs until a new home can be found and their father is a veterinarian. Enormous dogs are always roaming their family's rural home and white fur is always flying everywhere. When the sisters meet their new neighbor, Phillip, they are left with many questions. Phillip has gone silent. What happened that would cause him to stop speaking? Does he believe that he is the cause of his parents' problems? MacLachlan shares with young audiences a touching story of compassion, trust, and patience. She weaves the themes of family and friendship throughout the narrative, peppering her well-paced plot with sufficient tension and avoiding an overdramatization of its climax. Like many of the author's best stories, this one is told simply and gently with touches of light humor. The clear prose, combined with the brevity of the narrative, make the book an ideal selection for young readers, reluctant readers, and animal lovers everywhere. Children will feel satisfied as they discover that both dogs and boys can be rescued, and many will be pleasantly surprised that they can also rescue one another.—Elly Schook, Jamieson Elementary School, Chicago
Kirkus Reviews
A rescued dog saves an unhappy, silent boy in this gentle story about families, fears and courage. As she did most recently in Waiting for the Magic (2011), Newbery Medalist MacLachlan shows the support that pets can provide. Zoe's mother fosters abandoned Great Pyrenees dogs. But when Jack, a new dog, runs away, 9-year-old Phillip, a new neighbor, runs after him. He gets lost, but the dog leads him to a barn where they shelter from a night of rain and hail. Phillip's parents are having problems; he's staying for a while with a childless aunt and uncle with little experience with children or dogs, and he won't talk to anyone. Zoe's family, on the other hand, is close, chatty and compassionate. They care for each other and for their rescued animals: not only the massively shedding white dogs, but also an African grey parrot whose favorite phrase is "You can't know." True. There is much you can't know about people and animals both, and much you don't know, still, after the story ends. Zoe recalls the experience in a narrative occasionally interrupted by ruminative, present-tense glimpses of Zoe with the dogs at night and summed up in her little sister Alice's concluding journal entry. The spare prose and extensive dialogue leaves room for the reader's imagination and sympathy. Beautifully told, quietly moving and completely satisfying. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.50(d)
450L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s Story; Edward’s Eyes; The True Gift; Waiting for the Magic; White Fur Flying; and Fly Away. She lives in western Massachusetts.

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White Fur Flying 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-she snarled, unsure what was happening-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago