Our two middle grade novels for 8-12 year olds this month were about the special relationship between a child and an animal. Storm Horse, about a boy who saves a horse after a shipwreck and One Dog and His Boy, about a boy who will do anything to keep his dog.
Storm Horse by Nick Garlick. Flip is a twelve-year-old boy who finds himself an orphan and off to live on a remote Dutch island with an uncle who doesn’t trust him. His new life of living and working on a farm is a far cry from his home in Amsterdam. Although he appreciates being taken in, the work is hard and he is lonely. His only friends are his cousin and a mysterious Ghost Girl who doesn’t speak. He also has to deal with three brothers who bully him. One day a ship is sinking off shore and Flip sees a horse drowning in the waves. Even though he knows nothing about horses, he risks his life to save the horse. He calls the horse Storm and the two quickly bond. But the farm is struggling and unless Flip can quickly train the horse to work on the farm, he will have to give Storm up. Storm isn’t easy to train but it gives Flip something to focus on. An exciting adventure that was difficult to put down. Nick is from Utrecht, Netherlands where he lives with his wife and a vegetable-eating cat! This is his third children’s book. Also included in this box is an exclusive letter from Nick to our readers.
One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson. Hal has always wanted a dog, in fact he has asked for a dog for every birthday and Christmas. His wealthy parents just don’t want an animal in their clean, perfect house. His 10th birthday arrives and the closest Hal gets to having a dog is a man dressed in a dog suit, arranged by his mother. Hal gets very depressed and finally his parents give in. Hal picks Fleck from the Easy Pets store, but his parents fail to tell him that they have only rented the dog for the weekend. Returning from school on Monday and finding Fleck gone, Hal devises a plan to get Fleck back and run away to his grandparent’s home. Of course things don’t go as planned. Eva is one of my favourite authors. She was born in Vienna but moved to England in 1934 to escape the Nazi regime. Eva passed away in 2010. One Dog and His Boy was her last book after a long career of writing outstanding books which won many awards. A truly wonderful storyteller who is greatly missed.