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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Me & Jack by Danette Haworth

Summary: Before you walk past Me & Jack by Danette Haworth, let me just put your mind at ease – the dog on the cover doesn’t die. Because, let’s face it, most dog & boy stories (as Gordon Korman points out in No More Dead Dogs) end with the dog dying. The ending in Me & Jack is, thankfully, dog-death free.

Don’t think that means that this is a happy little story of a boy and his dog. Me & Jack is full of heart-wrenching and frustrating conflicts suffered by characters that I, as a reader, quickly grew attached to and felt very sympathetic toward.

Joshua Reed is an Army brat growing up during the Vietnam War. His father is a recruiter, and his job is taking them to yet another new town with a new start. Josh is excited when he quickly makes a new friend, Ray, and his dad lets him get a dog. Jack, with his oddly glowing ears and understanding eyes is exactly what Josh wants in a dog; loyal, playful, and protective of his boy.

Ray & Josh get along great, but Ray’s cousin, Alan, seems determined to hate Josh and Jack, and does everything he can to make Josh’s life hard. To make matters worse, Jack is being blamed for all sorts of mayhem in the town, from tipped garbage cans to dead livestock, and Josh’s dad is finding many people turning against him because of the rising casualties of the troops serving in Vietnam.

Can Josh & Ray remain friends even though Alan is determined to ruin everything? Will Josh be able to prove that Jack is not the menace that many believe he is or will he be forced to give up his new companion?

Standing up for those you love

Age Appropriateness:
10 and up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none
Violence: mild

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