Tuesday, 22 August 2017

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

best fiction for children 7-10 years old

In the last weeks I seem to have fallen into a blogging lurgy. I don't have much mental spark or enthusiasm to finish any of my half-written posts, and the list of the blog tasks is growing longer and longer.
With summer holidays, I barely have enough energy to keep my children entertained. We go out most of the days, and at home I try to keep a fine balance between TV, ipads, DVDs, books and games.

Just yesterday Eddie and I watched The Mummy (1999 version). He pronounced it to be the best film ever. It is still as bad as I remember it. The first time I watched it in Russia many years ago, and those pesky scarabs preyed on my mind for a long time.

Every evening, before bedtime I read aloud to Eddie. We snuggle in together on a big bed, I read and he listens and asks one zillion questions.
After finishing three Diary of a Wimpy Kids books, I said Enough is enough, I cannot stand this any longer, they are all practically the same. Let's read some proper literature.

One Dog and His Boy is Eva Ibbotson's last novel. She died in 2010. I regret that I never wrote to her to say just how much I enjoyed her books. And now it's too late.

One Dog and His Boy is a modern classic for children.
This is a story of a boy called Hal, who lives with his rich and supercilious parents. He has all the toys a child would ever want, but he is unhappy. His parents don't have time for him.
He is just an accessory. The new carpets and a house with a swimming pool are much more important considerations.
His parents are a caricature of nouveau riche. While I do believe that such people exist, they are not very convincing. The portrayal of parents for me was the weakest point in this book.
Who in real life will get excited by a platinum poop scoop which apparently was the replica of the one that the Royal family of the Romanovs had for their dogs?!

Hal has been asking his parents for a dog for a long time. Finally his parents cede to his overwhelming desire. His father promises him a dog. Hal is ecstatic, when he finds the right dog. Little does he know that the dog has been only hired for a weekend, from Easy Pets venture.

Once the dog is returned to Easy Pets, Hal goes on the run. He is rightfully indignant and wounded by his parents' deceit.
Thus a big adventure starts for Hal, his dog Fleck, his new friend Pippa and four other dogs who escape the prison that is otherwise known as Easy Pets.
Will Hal be able to reach his grandparents who live up North? Will he and his true friends be caught by police and private detectives?

It's a warm and sweet story, slightly old-fashioned and a bit predictable, but very enjoyable.

If you are looking for a book to read aloud to your child, this is a great story. Chapters are short enough. We read about 3 chapters per day (there are 25 in total).
Each chapter comes with a charming illustration of a dog.

I'm thinking now of reading one of Morpurgo's books to Eddie. If you have read One dog and his boy, which book would you recommend to us to read next?


  1. I don't know where you can buy it these days but when I read this post I was reminded of a book called Adam's Ark by Paul Stewart. My favourite book as an animal loving child.

    1. Thank you for your suggestion! Following your advice, I found it on amazon, and bought it from one of the sellers.