ONE DOG AND HIS BOY by Eva Ibbotson

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Hal has always longed for a dog.  His wealthy parents give him all of the toys and games a little boy could ever dream of, but a dog is all Hal has ever wanted.  Reluctant to allow a pet into their perfect home, Hal’s parents instead arrange to rent one for a weekend.  They tell Hal he can pick out any dog he wants and can keep it for as long as he likes (certain that he’ll be tired of it by the end of the weekend anyway).  But when Hal lays eyes on Fleck, an adorable mutt that the kennel maid snuck into the pure bred pet rental shop, he falls instantly in love–and Fleck feels the same.  When Hal’s mother takes Fleck back to the shop, Hal decides to steal Fleck back and flee to his grandparents’ house by the sea.  At the pet rental shop, he runs into the kennel maid’s little sister, Pippa, who decides that they should rescue all of Fleck’s friends, too.  And so, two humans and five dogs begin an epic adventure across England with a team of private detectives hot on their trail.

This is a sweet, funny adventure story that will especially appeal to animal lovers (many scenes are described from the point of view of the dogs).  I would recommend it to children in grades 3-4.  The audiobook is also very good (performed by Steve West, reader of the Odyssey Award winning Scorpio Races audiobook).

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