Saturday, July 14, 2012


I am really trying to NOT buy books right now (Note to Son #1: Your mother loves you and is trying to make sure there are adequate funds to keep you supplied with Inn-n-Out burgers for the year). Toward that end,  I have been making weekly, or twice weekly trips to the library all summer. My first stop is always the "New Books" shelf. Yesterday I came across LITTLE DOG, LOST. And because it was a dog story, I had to check it out. And then I had to come right home and sit down and read it.

LITTLE DOG, LOST is a novel in verse. There is a boy, Mark, who is probably about ten. Mark lives with his mother, who is the postmaster and the mayor, in the small town of Erthly. And Mark really, really wants a dog.
Mark had wanted a dog 
for as long as he could remember.
He had asked for a dog.
He had begged for a dog.
He had pleaded and prayed and whined for a dog.
Once he had even tried barking for a dog.
All to no avail. 
His mother always said, "No!"
And of course there is a dog in the story.
Little dog,
Little black dog with brown paws
and a brown mask
and a sweet ruffle of brown fur on her bum
just beneath her black whip of a tail.
Satiny coat.
Ears like airplane wings
that drop
just at the tips.
She used to be called Buddy
until no one called her anything at all.
There is also an old man, the caretaker of a giant mansion in the middle of town.
…Charles Larue?
No one 
knew a single thing
about him.
They didn't know
what he might long for 
beyond bread,
and peanut butter
and baked beans
and a large Milky Way candy bar.
They didn't know
that he had served his lady
with quiet joy
for nearly fifty years.
And they certainly ddin't know
that he had once been in love
with the redheaded waitress 
in the Erthly Café
who'd served him coffee and pie
every week
on his afternoon off.
Mark finally decides that if he can't have a dog, he will campaign for a dog park for his town, so that he will at least have a place to play with other people's dogs.  And it's at that point that the lives of Mark, Buddy, and Mr. Larue intersect.
So much longing.
So many lives filled with longing 
It's what stories--
All our stories--
are made of. 

And what is longing
made of
except hope?
LITTLE DOG, LOST is  probably a little bit predictable, but it's a really sweet story. That I might use in a study of novels in verse. Or characters. That I would definitely hand to the dog lovers in my class. Or I might hand to one of my best intermediate grade readers because it's just a really nice, and pretty quick, read. Or to one of my most tentative readers because it's not too hard and there are illustrations to support the text.

And a warning: This book made me cry.


Franki said...

I just got this one--hadn't heard anything about it but bought it because it looked good and because I LOVE Novels in Verse. Hope to get to it next week.

Carol said...

I love novels in verse too. And this is a sweet, sweet book. I read it in an hour!

The Busy Author said...

Another excellent verse novel for younger readers! I'll have to check it out. I've linked this on my verse novel showcase

The Busy Author said...

Another excellent verse novel for younger readers! I'll have to check it out. I've linked this on my verse novel showcase

SC Langgle said...

I've never heard of this one before, and it sounds amazing...although I'm already a little afraid to read it. Dog novels always make me cry! Thanks for the review!