From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–In this novel set in Newfoundland in 1929, 13-year-old Tom Campbell, an orphan, travels to Back o' the Moon Island to live with and work for Enoch and Fiona Murray. On his first fishing trip, he rescues a young Newfoundland dog from the sea during a storm and names him Thunder. A local boy, Bert Bosworth, and his father, Amos, also want the animal, and they go to great lengths to find his original owner out of spite. Thunder is a kind, intelligent creature who several times saves the islanders from danger. After a harrowing episode in which Amos shoots and slightly injures the Newfoundland while he tries to pull villagers away from a pending tidal wave, the Bosworths realize that the dog truly belongs with Tom. When Fiona needs help with a difficult birth, Tom and Thunder prove their courage by taking her across the ice by sled during a blizzard. The book concludes with Enoch and Fiona officially adopting Tom and with Thunder's original owner giving the dog to the boy and his new family. The episodic chapters are fast paced and the narrative creates a real sense of time and place. Tom's growing affection for the Murrays and his feelings about his pet are clearly delineated. Fans of Harlow's Star in the Storm
(McElderry, 2000), dog lovers, and readers yearning for a cozy tale will enjoy curling up with this story.–Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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Gr. 4-7. Life in 1929 Newfoundland is demanding, but 13-year-old Tom feels fortunate to be adopted by fisherman Enoch and his wife, Fiona. When they rescue a Newfoundland dog from the sea, Tom's dream of owning a canine seems fulfilled. Thunder accompanies Tom everywhere, but dangers threaten at every turn. Neighbor Bert bullies Tom, and Bert's father shoots Thunder as the dog tries to warn the town about a tsunami. Tom lives in fear that Thunder's owner will come to claim him, Fiona becomes pregnant, and the harsh environment includes an earthquake and tidal wave that destroy much of the village. Like Anne of Green Gables
, this story features a remote Canadian setting, an orphan, and plenty of "fresh air, sunshine and balsam." The focus, however, is on action rather than character and relationships. Tom and Thunder squirm through enough danger to fill an entire TV season of Lassie.
This strains credibility, but provides nonstop adventure for dog lovers. Linda PerkinsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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