One Dog and His Boy is Eva Ibbotson's last novel. Ibbotson passed away in the fall of 2010. The sadness of reading this last book is tempered by the knowledge that I have some of her back-list titles still to read, but it is always sad to know that there will be no more new books from a favorite author.
One Dog and His Boy is the story of Hal, a boy who had everything he could want, except for a dog -- and Fleck, a young dog who, despite the hardships he's already faced in life, still believes that the perfect human for him is still out there somewhere. Hal is ecstatic when his parents finally agree to let him have a dog, but what he doesn't realize is that they only mean to rent a dog for a weekend, thinking that Hal will get tired of taking care of it by the time it has to be returned. Fleck has landed at the pet rental place, despite his mixed ancestry, and when Hal and Fleck see each other, they know right away that they belong together. They have a wonderful weekend together, and then Fleck is sent back to the rental shop by Hal's parents. Both Fleck and Hal are heartbroken, and when a chance encounter brings them together again, Hal knows that he will do anything to get his dog back. What follows is a cross-country adventure involving Hal, Fleck, Hal's friend Pippa, and an entire cast of canine characters.
This story is sweet, funny, and whimsical, and will delight dog-lovers of all ages. (Added bonus: no dogs die, which sets it apart from a lot of dog stories!) This book is set for publication next month, so be on the lookout!
(Reviewed from advance review copy obtained from the publisher.)