________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005


Rescue Pup. (Orca Young Readers).

Jean Little.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2004.
101 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 1-55143-299-4.

Subject Headings:
Guide dogs - Juvenile fiction.
Foster children - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Janice Foster.

**** /4


Then a strong hand grabbed the scruff of his neck and hauled his small body out of the jaws of death back into the sunny morning.

He tried to gulp in air, but he was still too full of water. The hands holding him turned him upside down and squeezed his aching chest. Creek water poured out of his mouth. He sneezed mightily three times. He coughed and retched. Then he began to breathe again.

Jean Little, one of Canada's favourite children's writers, shares her love of dogs once again with young readers in her new book, Rescue Pup. Inspired by her experiences with her own three Seeing Eye dogs, she tells an engaging story about the training of a guide dog puppy. The author captures a wide range of emotions - fear, joy, humour, pain, love - shared by both Shakespeare, the puppy, and the people in his life. The use of informal dialogue and vivid descriptions lends a natural flow that draws a young reader effortlessly through the story. The clever premise that this small yellow Labrador can "understand Human" adds an interesting component to the narration.

     Rescue Pup is a touching story of a Seeing Eye puppy, Shakespeare, and a troubled foster child, Tessa. Expecting her to love him on sight, Shakespeare soon realizes why his new owner is referred to as Stoneface. Undaunted, he sets out to teach her to love and finds himself in a variety of dangerous situations from nearly drowning in a creek to being attacked by an attack rooster, Zorro. Through situations such as these, Jean Little develops a special relationship between Tessa and Shakespeare.

     Although the ending of the story has more fairytale qualities than realism, younger readers will welcome the happy ending for Tessa and will be curious about the next stage in Shakespeare's adventure as he heads off for training school. Jean Little skillfully provides not only a charming story that will delight young readers but sensitively includes the topics of foster homes, death of a parent and abandonment.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster is a teacher in the Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.