Reviews for One Dog and His Boy
Booklist Reviews 2012 March #1
Ibbotson's final book is a story with the heart of Lassie and the satirical bite of Roald Dahl. Hal is the only child of incredibly wealthy parents who stop at nothing to make him happy, yet they consistently refuse him a dog, the only thing he wants. When they finally relent and allow him to bring home "Tottenham Terrier" Fleck, Hal is unaware that the dog is only a weekend rental. Hal's parents are oblivious to the true nature of their son's desires, and this conflict sets in motion Hal's journey from London to Northumberland, accompanied by a girl named Pippa and five dogs in search of their soul mates. Ibbotson never talks down to her audience, nor does she vilify the parents so severely that their rehabilitation at the end is implausible. Themes of loyalty, greed, devotion, and home are woven through a text that is as funny as it is satisfying. Hal and Fleck show readers the legitimacy of children who know their own minds and the folly of the grown-ups who cross them. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
BookPage Reviews 2012 March
A boy's best friend
All Hal ever wanted was a dog. His wealthy parents give him every toy and gizmo, all hand-wrapped and selected by the professionals at the upscale toy store, but a dog is out of the question. It might shed, make a mess or otherwise disturb the sparkling, germ-free mansion the staff has carefully created.
Crestfallen when his 10th birthday yields only a horrifying man dressed as a dog, Hal’s sadness nudges his father to finally get a dog. The catch is, this dog will come from Easy Pets, a dog rental agency. Figuring that a dog will be like every other “toy” in Hal’s life (discarded after a few days), Hal’s father misjudges the bond between boy and dog—and that’s when this story really gets going. Hal’s attachment to Fleck, as the little mongrel is called, is so instant and so deep that Hal’s anger and depression over his parents’ duplicity sends everyone into a tailspin when his mother returns Fleck without a word of warning.
Hal and Fleck are destined to be reunited, however, and in her final book, dog-lover Eva Ibbotson, who died in 2010, has created a reunion worthy of cinema. Hal is convinced that his grandparents in Northumberland will be better parents for him and his dog. New friend and accomplice Pippa, whose family thinks she is at sleepaway camp, joins him on an adventure worthy of The Incredible Journey.
Though Ibbotson didn’t live long enough to see this charmer in print, her love of animals comes through on every page. Parents, be careful: One Dog and His Boy will certainly make young readers long for a Fleck of their own. Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Hal's parents get him a dog for his birthday, but Fleck is only a rental, due back at the Easy Pets Dog Agency when the weekend ends. Ibbotson leads a brisk chase across London and, eventually, cross country as Hal, aided by kennel maid Pippa, finds Fleck and determines to take him to Hal's grandparents. This (sadly) last of the late author's novels features a journey with welcome echoes of Dodie Smith.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #3
This (sadly) last of the late Ibbotson's novels follows a classic formula. Boy gets dog, boy loses dog; that boy and dog will be reunited is never in doubt. After years of expensive and uninteresting presents, Hal's parents finally give in to his greatest wish and get him a dog for his birthday. What they don't tell him is that Fleck is only a rental, due back at the Easy Pets Dog Agency (which specializes in this kind of reprehensible behavior) when the weekend ends. This will not do, but Ibbotson leads a brisk chase across London and, eventually, cross country as Hal, aided by underappreciated kennel maid Pippa, finds Fleck and determines to take him to Hal's (also underappreciated) grandparents in far-off Northumbria. Their journey has welcome echoes of Dodie Smith, particularly as the trio is joined by four other dogs from Easy Pets, each one distinctly characterized and determined to find its true home. If the world is not so neatly divided into selfish, superficial grownups and openhearted, brave kids (and dogs and grandparents), never mind: the appeal of Ibbotson's books has always been the author's firm loyalty to children. roger sutton Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
In Ibbotson's final book, all 10-year-old Hal Fenton has ever wanted is a dog of his own, but his wealthy, shallow parents think a brief dog-rental will resolve his yearning. Every aspect of the Fenton household's appearance is perfect, and a dog is an unwelcome addition. Mr. Fenton rents Fleck, a white mutt inappropriately placed at the Easy Pets agency, run by the evil Carkers, a couple interested only in making money. Fortunately for the 50 purebred dogs they rent out, gentle, impoverished Kayley runs the kennel. Bereft after his parents slyly return Fleck to the agency, Hal steals the dog and sets out for his grandparents' cottage in the north of England. He's joined unexpectedly by a motley gang of five other kennel escapees and Kayley's kind-hearted younger sister, Pippa, who has released them. In a series of remarkably fortunate encounters, the dogs' sagacious skills help the children on their perilous journey. Characters are painted with a broad brush; they are either very, very good or quite nasty, although some of the latter, like Hal's parents, have the opportunity for atonement. The amusing hyperbole Ibbotson employs to great effect turns this pet story into a classic Dahl-like adventure. A rousing, slightly surreal tale of rescue and redemption, this effort will appeal to animal lovers everywhere. (Adventure. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 May/June
Coming from a rich family, ten-year-old Hal Fenton owned practically every toy a boy could ever want, yet he always dreamed of having a dog of his very own. His mother shunned the idea until his father, who is often away, has the idea of renting a dog from the Easy Pets Dog Agency for a couple of days in the hopes Hal would soon tire of his pet. Hal falls in love with Fleck, a hyperactive mongrel. When his mother returns Fleck to the agency without his knowledge, Hal makes a plan to get his dog and run away to his grandparents' home. Hal's plan is derailed when the other agency dogs flee and end up in an adventure with Fleck and his owner. This is a very sweet story that gives insight to what's truly important in life and highlights the special relationship dogs and humans have. It is truly enjoyable! Dionne Fox, Head Librarian, Hampton Roads Academy, Newport News, Virginia. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #3
Readers who have grown to love Ibbotson's bighearted heroes and larger-than-life adventure stories will relish this final novel, published after her death in 2010. It introduces Hal Fenton, a British boy who has everything except the thing he wants most, a dog. Mistakenly, Hal believes his wish has finally come true when his father lets him pick out a pup for his 10th birthday. When he finds out that Fleck, the terrier he's chosen, is only rented for the weekend, Hal is understandably furious. Fueled by his rage, he sets out to retrieve Fleck from the Easy Pets shop and run away to Northumberland to live with his grandparents. Hal's mission is complicated when four more dogs (and the girl who set them free) decide to come along. Traveling on foot, the group finds surprises aplenty as they meet villains (including a bumbling detective's assistant hired by Hal's parents) as well as advocates who offer refuge. In true Ibbotson form, the lives of unlikely acquaintances are colorfully threaded together, and all characters get exactly what they deserve. Ages 8-12. Agent: Stephanie Thwaites, Curtis Brown. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March
Gr 3-6--In this--her last book--Ibbotson maintained her flair for characterization, madcap action, and a rollicking plotline. Hal has wanted a dog for as long as he can remember, but his status-hungry mother is more concerned with the pristine interior decoration of her home than the happiness of her son. His father is never home from work long enough to exert any sort of influence over the household. To Hal's delight, his father (having forgotten about his birthday) agrees to let him choose a dog the next morning. It's love at first sight. But to Hal's dismay-and that of the dog-Fleck is returned to the shop the next Monday because he was just rented for the weekend. Hal resolves to rescue Fleck and run away to the cottage by the sea where his sympathetic grandparents live and ends up abetting the escape of four other dogs, as well. Hal's parents hire a private eye and advertise a reward for the boy's return, so a host of nefarious characters pursues the runaways on their long journey, which involves side excursions to a circus, an orphanage, and a night with a sheep farmer. All of these complications provide ample play for Ibbotson's gentle chiding of human foibles and pretensions as well as a conclusion in which each dog has found the perfect home and Hal's parents have repented and reformed. This satisfying novel combines humor with heart to great effect--a lovely parting gift from the masterful storyteller.--Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY [Page 160]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.