________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 11 . . . . November 11, 2011


Farley and the Lost Bone.

Lynn Johnston & Beth Cruikshank.
Kansas City, MO: Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.99.
ISBN 978-1-4494-0-3065.

Subject Heading:

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4



Seeing Elly dig reminded Farley of something. Something he had wanted to do all winter. Something he couldn’t do while the ground was covered with snow. Now the snow was gone, but Farley couldn’t remember what he wanted to do.

Readers last met Farley, the old English sheepdog, in book form in Farley Follows His Nose, in which Farley’s seemingly always empty stomach, assisted by his keen sense of smell, got him into trouble. More trouble awaits the loveable dog in Farley and the Lost Bone, in which winter has given way to spring. Farley is outside where “[t]he grass on the lawn was green, the breeze was soft and the warm sun soaked into Farley’s fur.” Seeing Elly digging in the flower bed twigs a memory in Farley’s head [see “excerpt” above], but he can’t recall what it was that he wanted to do until he sees John picking up a wrench and the wrench’s shape reminds him that, just prior to a winter snowfall that had frozen the ground, “Elly had given him a big, juicy meaty bone” – one that he had buried.

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      Now that Farley recalls that what he had wanted to do was to dig up that bone, he is confronted by the reality that he no longer remembers where he had buried it. Thinking that Elly might be trying to beat him in uncovering the bone, Farley rips into the garden, only to be chastised and chased away by Elly. Digging under the train set that John had set up on the yard and in Lizzie’s sandbox and in Michael’s fort led only to more scoldings and banishment from the respective areas. A dejected Farley seeks solace in his “Special Place...where he always went when he wanted to be alone.” There, he notes a “spot near him where the dirt was looser and the fallen leaves had been scraped away.” A bit more digging unearths his bone, after which “Farley danced out on the lawn to show the family his bone.”

      Now recognizing the purpose of Farley’s earlier digging, all of the family members are appropriately contrite though Elly thinks that the bone “looks DISGUSTING!” Not deterred by Elly’s judgement, Farley flops down with his bone, only to be pleasantly disturbed by the call, “Time for supper.” Concerned that someone might take his bone while he heads off to eat his supper, Farley buries the bone again in a new location. And young readers will be left to wonder if Farley will recall where he buried it this time.

      Farley and the Lost Bone is a gentle story, one that will especially appeal to dog lovers, both young and old. Adult readers of Johnston’s cartoon strip, “For Better or Worse,” will appreciate that she, with her collaborator, has brought her human and animal characters to a new generation of readers.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB, where he often places his “treasures” in special secret places that are so special he cannot later retrieve them.

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

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