Reviews for Everything for a Dog


Booklist Reviews 2009 June #1
The dog Bone, who made an appearance in Martin's A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray (2005), gets his own narrative in this ambitious work about pooches and the people who love them. As readers may recall, the abandoned Bone gets rescued in a mall parking lot, but that's only the beginning of his journey. He is given away and abandoned again before it's over, and his sober, first-person narration provides the book's heart and soul. Meanwhile, separate story lines introduce us to two boys: Charlie, grieving over his dead brother with the help of his dog, and Henry, who wants a dog more than anything in the world, despite his parents' refusals. These plots are seemingly unrelated, and how they ultimately fit together will defy most expectations. Plot twists, of course, are just a bonus; mostly this is a sensitive, gentle read that surrounds its occasional heartbreak with plenty of hope and warm feelings. And the subtle "dog power" message--that these are sentient creatures not to be traded like objects--certainly doesn't hurt. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
In this companion to A Dog's Life, three alternating stories--Charlie's, Henry's, and dog Bone's--begin separately. Each is compelling in its own right, but the book becomes even more powerful when the stories begin to intersect, culminating in a moving conclusion. A serious and very fine tale about life, death, and the need to keep going in order to find joy again. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #6
Three alternating stories -- Charlie's, Henry's, and dog Bone's -- begin separately. Bone narrates his own story, a technique Martin used in her companion novel A Dog's Life, also narrated by a dog, Bone's sister, Squirrel. Charlie's story is told in the present tense, beginning with the agony of attending the eighth-grade graduation of his brother, RJ, who died seven months earlier. Finally, there is Henry, whose story is told in the conventional third-person past tense, and it is his Christmas list that provides the title: Henry wants a dog and "everything for a dog." Each story is compelling in its own right, but the book becomes even more powerful when the stories begin to intersect, culminating in a moving conclusion. From the opening, when Bone describes "how life can change in an instant -- SNAP! The swallow flew through the window and -- SNAP! -- The cat caught her in his jaws," it is clear that Martin is not writing a conventional dog story but a serious and very fine book about life, death, and the need to keep going in order to find joy again, whether one is a human or a dog. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 July #2
In this poignant companion to A Dog's Life (2005), Martin pursues her story of two homeless puppies from male puppy Bone's perspective, adding canine-related stories from two boys, Charlie and Henry. When stray siblings Bone and Squirrel are separated, Bone is rescued by a young couple, becomes an elderly man's companion and eventually searches for a home. After Charlie's older brother RJ falls from a tree and dies, his mom suffers a breakdown and his dad withdraws, leaving Charlie to grieve with RJ's dog Sunny until another accident strikes. Eleven-year-old Henry's parents won't let him have a dog. When his best pal moves away, Henry renews his plea, but to no avail. Bone autobiographically tells his own touching tale, while Martin compassionately relates Charlie and Henry's stories in the third person. She artfully alternates and gradually weaves together threads from the canine and human tales until the three stories converge in time and space into a completely heartwarming and satisfying finale. Essential fare for fans of A Dog's Life or the perfectly crafted canine tale. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 August #2

Fans of Martin's A Dog's Life who are eager to know what happened to Bone, the brother of stray puppy Squirrel, will find the answer in this beautifully crafted companion novel. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Bone and two boys who enter his life. Henry is an 11-year-old whose deepest desire is to have a dog. Charlie is lucky enough to already have a dog, but that doesn't ease his grief over the recent loss of his older brother, RJ ("He can't help but think, as he fondles Sunny's silky ears, that RJ was the one who named Sunny; that Sunny had, in fact, been RJ's dog"). Meanwhile, Bone, still a stray and not yet aware of the boys' existence, bounces from one family to another, experiencing a mixture of joyful moments as well as events that lead to betrayal and abandonment. Each point of view is compelling on its own, but the smooth convergence of the characters' heartwrenching histories shows exceptional engineering and artistry. Animal lovers of all ages will cherish this moving tale of man's--or in this case, boy's--best friend. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)

[Page 55]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 September

Gr 4-6--This parallel novel to Martin's A Dog's Life (Scholastic, 2005), about a stray named Squirrel, tells the tale of Squirrel's brother and his search for a home. Unlike Dog's Life, only part of the story is told from Bone's perspective. Instead, it is also narrated by Henry, a boy desperately in want of a dog; and Charlie, who is dealing with the aftermath of his brother's recent death. Though it follows the standard "boy and his dog" story line, Martin's gentle tale also touches upon growing up, facing hardship, and the importance of companionship, no matter its form. The interconnected stories, told in alternating chapters, are thoughtfully written and crafted to a satisfying convergence. This is a touching and ultimately happy story that will appeal to fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh (S & S, 1991) and Fred Gipson's Old Yeller (HarperCollins, 1942), as well as to a wider audience.--Nicole Waskie, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY

[Page 166]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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