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The Good Dog Paperback – April 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Themes reminiscent of Jack London's The Call of the Wild ring throughout this vividly imagined animal story. From a canine perspective, Avi (Poppy) relates how a malamute named McKinley's life changes after he encounters a wolf. Head dog in Steamboat Springs, McKinley leads a busy life, protecting his family (including his "human pup," Jack) and keeping order among his canine compatriots in the mountain town. While trying to aid a runaway the forlorn greyhound, Duchess, whose owner offers a reward for her return McKinley encounters Lupin, a wolf who hopes to recruit dogs for her dwindling pack. Lupin's indictment of dogs ("tongue-lapping, tail-wagging slaves who take their food from bowls!") both stirs and shames McKinley; he soon finds his loyalties torn as he simultaneously tries to foil Jack's misguided plan to join the wolves, keep a wounded Lupin safe from those hunting her and fend off Redburn, a conniving Irish setter bent on usurping the hero's place as head dog. The action moves along at a crackling pace, reaching a crescendo in a dramatic moonlight confrontation. The dog's-eye point of view allows for some creative touches, including insights into animal behavior and the vocabulary McKinley uses for various human objects ("eating sticks" for utensils; "a block of staring papers" for book; "glow box" for television), but most compelling of all is the transformation of McKinley's happy-go-lucky character into a truly majestic leader. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-A story with a decidedly canine point of view that will delight dog lovers. Jack's malamute, McKinley, is the top dog in Steamboat Springs, CO. His enemy is not a cat but a sad excuse for an Irish setter, Redburn. Sedate small-town life is interrupted by the appearance of Lupin, a she-wolf that urges dogs to free themselves from the tyranny of domesticated life. The noble McKinley tries to help her, and save a mistreated greyhound, but is misunderstood and relegated to the "dog house" by rather dim-witted humans. Communication between dogs and humans is awkward at best. There is a lot of dialogue among the dogs, among the humans, and between humans and dogs. The people come off as pretty stupid and McKinley is rather tolerant of the limitations of his "human pup" owner. It is confusing that sometimes McKinley seems to understand exactly what humans think and say and at other times professes ignorance. Still, fans of the film version of The Incredible Journey and Beethoven will lap this up as it has a very cinematic feel. Many scenes seem almost written directly for film. Readers will have no problem following the rapid, almost relentless action. John Erickson's "Hank the Cowdog" series (Viking) and James Howe's "Bunnicula" series (Atheneum) are similar in tone.

Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689838255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689838255
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

More info at avi-writer.com and facebook.com/avi.writer
--------------------------------------------------------
Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Avi-writer.com. Follow Avi on Facebook, facebook.com/avi.writer, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

Customer Reviews

The characters of this book are very interesting.
billli bob
These questions become very important to McKinley, a sled-dog, who lives in the Colorado Mountains with his human family.
KidsReads
Here is his review: I finished reading an awesome book called The Good Dog by Avi.
Diane Lynch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. Thompson on April 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read several of Avi's books. I must say I have yet to be disappointed. Nearly every one of his stories is written in a different style. Avi does not get type-cast or pigeon-holed... he finds a way to stay fresh and creative in every book he writes. I can't help but be blown away by his originality. Well, enough gushing about the author.
Avi takes a page from Jack London in this story. It is a take on the classics like, Call of the Wild and White Fang. McKinley is a loyal, smart, loving, caring dog. He is devoted to his family, and takes great pride in caring for his human pup. He is loyal to his human family and watches over them carefully.
But, McKinley is also the leader of a community of dogs. So he spends time rounding up the dogs in town and caring for them. One of his dog compatriots says he cares too much for other dogs. And that appears to be true.
When McKinley goes to help a dog named Duchess who has run away
from her abusive master, he meets up with a wolf. His life is forever changed from this point on. McKinley must decide if he will be loyal to his human family or break away and head into the wild with the wolf pack... Interesting stuff. Avi does a wonderful job of getting into the head of the McKinley. He gives us some insight into what he sees as the thought process of a dog.
The ending is dramatic and ties together nicely. McKinley gives an amazing statement on what he sees as a dogs relationship to humans. The care relationships dog's have to humanity is expertly rendered by Avi.
I couldn't put this book down and devoured it in a couple of days. The pace is fast and carries the reader along. I hope you read it... you will not be disappointed! :-)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Two of my friends suggested this book to me and I think that it is Avi's best yet. The story is clever and the plot is intense. I've read it five times and I still want to read it again. It is the perfect story for adventureous dog lovers. It is by far my favorite ever. I also think that if you liked this book, you should try "Child of the Wolves" by Elizabeth Hall. I was very suprised at how these two authers think and write so much like I do. I also know that many other people are like that too. I strongly recemend "The Good Dog" to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I liked this book because it was a great book and it had great details. There was a great detail in the story when it was talking about McKinley grabbing the food out of the refrigerator and how he did it. Also, this book was about dogs and I really like dogs .

This book was about a dog named McKinley. He had an owner named Jack who was about 12 years old. In the book, McKinley is the leader of this dog pack in Alaska. One of the dogs in the pack, Duchess, runs away because she hates her owner Pycraft. A dog named Redburn does everything that his owners tell him to do. Pycraft made a reward for anyone who found Duchess. Of course, Redburn does everything that his owners tell him to do so he goes and finds Duchess. Duchess was hiding with a wolf named Lupin and when Redburn finds her, the wolf comes out and gets shot in the shoulder by Mr. Sullivan, Redburns owner. McKinley and his best dog friend, Aspen, help the wolf out by giving her food like meat and they bring her to a hiding place where people won't find her. McKinley helps Duchess escape from Pycraft. Now Lupin needs to get back to the wilderness because if she doesn't, they will shoot her. They help Lupin but McKinley almost gets shot in the process. Redburn thinks that he should be head dog now so he calls a meeting at Howl Hill. He makes a speech and then McKinley makes his speech. Then the pack votes and keeps McKinley as head dog. Duchess goes off to live with Lupin and to help her wolf pack. Will McKinley go too? Will he leave his humans and go and live with a wolf pack? Read the book and find out.

I think that fantasy readers would like this book because it is a great fantasy book with great details. Also, I think that kids from ages 10-13 would like this book and also dog lovers because this is a great dog story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I like this book because it has lots of details and it's from the dog's point of view. It is about a dog named McKinley and a wolf. McKinley is the head dog of the pack in Steamboat Springs. He has to pick whether to stay with his human pup Jack, or to go out with the wolf Lupin. He also has to deal with the lost dog Duchess.
I highly recommend you to get this book. You won't be sorry once you have read it!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chastity Gray on January 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who would like to know how a dog may see the world and humans around them, read this story. It is about an Alaskan Malamute named Mckinely who lives in Steamboat Springs, a small town in the mountains of Colorado. He is the leader of all of the dogs who live around him. It is Mckinely's job to protect his family, particularly his "human pup" Jack, and to solve any problems that involve any members of his dog pack. When Mckinely hears about a runaway Greyhound(Duchess), who has been mistreated by her owner, he sets off to find her in the hills. After finding her, and learning that the Greyhound has been living with a wolf named Lupin, Mckinely realizes that he has a big responsibilty:To keep Duchess hidden from her cruel master, to somehow prevent his young master from going off into the wilderness to search for Duchess and the wolf, and to prevent a rival dog(an Irish Setter named Redburn), from leading his master to Duchess. This story has suspenseful parts in it, especially when Mckinely is leading a wounded and ailing Lupin away from Redburn and the humans hot on her trail. The reason I gave this story four stars instead of five is that I would have liked to have seen Mckinely and many other dogs live with Lupin in the wilderness to help replenish her dwindling wolf pack(which is the reason she came to the dogs in the first place). Also, what happened to Duchess? It was said the Greyhound followed the wolf up north to live with her pack. Overall, a very good story, but not long enough. I await a sequel of this story.
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