Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Boy Who Spoke Dog

Title: The Boy Who Spoke Dog
Author: Clay Morgan
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: YA Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12
Rating: 5 paws out of 5
Available at:, Barnes and Noble,

Puffin Books and more

Synopsis: Cabin boy Jack washes up on the shore of a mysteriously deserted island. He finds two packs of dogs that have achieved a shaky balance. One pack guards a herd of sheep, the other group wants to kill and eat them. Left alone for years, the dogs have given a near legendary status to humans. A young border collie, Moxie gives her heart to Jack the first human she has ever seen. The boy’s presence upsets the rivalry and a great battle is set to happen.

The Mom Reads: It’s hard to find good, wholesome books that can attract boys, especially by the time they reach middle grade. The Boy Who Spoke Dog features a twelve year old boy in a conflicted, life and death situation. Clay Morgan artfully shares point of view from both Jack and the dogs. The language is clean, active, well paced and visual. Several questions are left unanswered at the end of the book, but those can often serve for some great discussions.

The Trainer Reads: The Boy Who Spoke Dog explores how dogs communicate in both a realistic and mystical manner. In one passage, Moxie rolls in the odor of the boy in order to bring it back to the pack. The author has uncannily captured the temperaments and likely characters in the breeds that are featured in the story. It seems fitting that a border collie bonds with Jack and a German shepherd leads the pack. It highlights the loyalty of dogs and the need for connectedness humans share with these marvelous animals. This book is highly recommended.