Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Dog's Way Home

Bobbie Pyron has written what I would consider a modern day Lassie. I read Lassie long ago as an elementary student, and enjoyed the tale of this dog. Mostly I am not a lover of animal stories. Yet, when I heard about A Dog's Way Home I was intrigued.

Tam is a Sheltie, the much loved pet of Abby his girl/owner. The two are on their way home with Abby's mother one night when they are in a serious accident. Abby and her mother are taken to the hospital, but Tam is thrown from the truck and eventually makes his way out of his crate, leaving his collar behind. When Abby finally awakens in the hospital, she is desperate to find Tam, but despite all their searching he is nowhere to be found. Abby is devastated, but returns to her home, where she and her parents live with her Meemaw. Abby's dad is busy trying to get his break in the country music scene and even though her parents also miss Tam, there is little time for searching for him. Still Abby doesn't give up. Meanwhile, Tam finds himself deserted after the car accident, and sets out on his way to find his girl. Through alternating chapters, Tam tells his own story, and all the different animals he encounters and who befriend him. Because Tam had always known a home of love and caring, his experiences fending for himself are tough lessons for him. He has to learn to find food and fend for himself, all the while heading to his home. There are several stumbling blocks along the way.

While I will admit to loving the chapters that Abby narrated more, I did enjoy Tam's story, too. Several years ago I came across a list of classic books that were given an equivalent modern day version. I debate with myself about whether we should encourage the reading of newer books and not the classics, but in this case, I feel like A Dog's Way Home would be a great replacement for Lassie. As I finished up last night I know of three girls living in my home that would really enjoy this one. I also chuckled to myself about how wrapped up in this animal story my tender hearted middle daughter would become.

Themes of friendship, trust, adventure, perseverance and love are at play throughout this book. Perfect for 3-6 grades - and I am hoping to use this at home as a read aloud for my own children soon.

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