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on 8 May 2011
Eva Ibbotson's last novel, One Dog and His Boy, is one that perfectly fits into the 'modern classics' category. Written beautifully with her target audience in mind, this book is not just for children who wish for a dog themselves, but for any child who likes animal adventure stories.

It's the story of Hal, who has everything a boy could wish for, but no one to really love him. When his parents rent him a dog for his birthday, they think that he'll tire of having to look after it, so won't mind having to give it back. They couldn't have been more wrong! Hal and Fleck form a really strong bond which leads to a brilliant adventure (involving many more dogs).

If you are looking for something to read aloud to children of various ages, this book is perfect. If you like stories by Michael Morpurgo, Jeremy Strong and Roddy Doyle, this might be for you. I'd recommend you buy the beautifully illustrated hardback, it's one of these books to read again and again.
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on 17 May 2017
The most wonderful story about a boy who is spoilt materially, but totally lacking in the understanding of, and time with his parents. Empowering to kids, reminds them what the really important things in life are. I've bought lots of copies for presents and have read it twice to both my kids.
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on 12 March 2014
I love it, makes me smile. Get this brilliant book now. Flecks is so cute, it is a book that would love to have happened to you.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 August 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My children and I have loved Eva Ibbotson's work ever since we came across the sublime "Journey to the River Sea" many years ago. We especially love her more 'serious' lyrical works, although the comedic novels are also a joy.

Eva was clearly an author who was determined not to get stuck in a rut, and was always prepared to take on new challenges and new styles.

Even here, in what is (sadly) the last book before she died, she takes a new direction. I wouldn't quite call it "Eva Ibbotson meets Jacqueline Wilson", but there is something of that about it. Thankfully, she steers clear of the more direct manipulation of the reader which often characterises Jacqueline Wilson, but still manages to produce a book that more directly engages with one's emotions than her previous works.

In some ways, the book follows some very standard paths, with classic "wish fulfilment" elements which you will find in everything from Roald Dahl to Harry Potter. But there are also enough unexpected twists and turns to keep the story unpredictable and engaging to the end.

And, as always, the book is beautifully written, as befits an author who loved the joy of language and the craft of storytelling to the very end.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the last book written by Eva Ibbotson before her death last year and I am embarressed to say I had never heard of this author before being sent this book to review, however, she is an author I will be reading more off now. An author who writes with great passion and warmth about animals.

Hal was a boy with rich and snobbish parents, who was given everything on the market for his birthday, with his mother sending out to Hamleys for all the latests gizmos and gadgets, but Hal never got what he really wanted for his birthday - a dog. A dog which, his mother believed, would dirty her pristine show house! However, when his father returned late from his latest business trip on Hal's birthday, forgetting to pick up a present from duty free, he promised Hal a dog, one from Easy Pets, a dog hire company. Hal's father thought it would be a passing fad, and Hal would be glad to return it after the end of the 'hire'. However, as soon as Hal set his eyes on Fleck, a mongrel who should never of been at Easy Pets, Hal was in love, as was Fleck. After a fun filled few days, Hals mother tricked Hal into visiting the dentist with the au pair while she returned Fleck to Easy Pets and Hal was inconsolable on his return. The following story tells of the bond between Fleck and Hal, but also of the dogs in Room A at Easy Pets.

It was a beautiful story, a story which could be shared at bed time between parent and child. Ibbotson writes at a level suitable for children of all ages to understand and tells of the true and everlasting bond between a dog and its owner, each looking out for the other. It also tells of how children can be overloaded with expensive toys and gadgets and not appreciate them - money can not buy a child's love! However, the love of a pet can be just as rewarding.
There is also the story of Hal's determination to keep Fleck, a journey across country to his grandparents house, who are not rich, but understand the love of an animal. The journey was a great adventure and I loved to read about it and loved the ending to the book.

Another big part of this book for me are the pencil sketch drawings by Sharon Rentta. They are full of life and each sketch shows the dog's unique character. In the copy I was sent was extra sketches at the back of the book where Rentta had submitted extra sketches and the publishers decided to include all of them!

I would recommend this as a great gift idea for children aged 7+, as a book to share at bedtime and for older children to read themselves.
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This has to be one of the most enchanting things I've read in a long time. It may have been aimed at the children's market but I'm old enough to be a granny and I couldn't put it down. For all those children who have longed in vain for a dog of their own it will ring a whole peal of bells and for those adults who really feel that there are very good reasons not to have a dog in their lives just now it will present a very real danger. How I resisted rushing off to the local animal shelter to find a new four footed friend I'll never know. I may weaken yet.

It would be perfect for a child anywhere from 7 onwards to read themselves and would make great bedtime-story reading for younger children as well, though I suspect it might make for rather late bedtimes - I couldn't wait to see what happended next and there may well be weak-willed parents who will share their child's desire to read on a bit further, and then a bit further again.

The dog and his boy are lovable and plausible characters as are the friends human and canine they meet on their adventures. There is of course a happy ending.

I was sad to read just after getting to know this book that Eve Ibbotson is no longer with us but she has left a wealth of fine books for children that I suspect myself and a few other adult readers of this one may well be seeking out.
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on 26 April 2011
I have a confession to make: before reading One Dog and His Boy I hadn't read, and didn't own, a single book by Eva Ibbotson. Her books have honestly never appealed to me, and it was only because I was sent a proof copy of this for review that I ever thought of picking it up. I'm not usually one for stories about animals (I only really like cats), so this was right out of my comfort zone. However, I'm really, really glad I read it, and I see now why Eva Ibbotson is one of Britain's most-loved children's authors. Sadly she passed away last year, and One Dog and His Boy was the last book she completed. She certainly went out in style, that's for sure.

One Dog and His Boy is such a lovely book, and is very near perfect. I can see readers of all ages falling in love with Hal and Fleck, just like I did, and it's all because of the writing and uplifting story. Basically, Hal has always wanted a dog, but his too-busy, too-house-proud parents won't ever let him have one. So they do the unthinkable: they hire Fleck for a weekend, and then return him. Hal is absolutely heartbroken, and sets off to get Fleck back from the Easy Pets dog rental business. They're accompanied by a girl called Pippa and four other dogs: Otto, Honey, Francine and Li-Chee.

What follows is a story of determination, love and the everlasting bond between one dog and his boy. Each dog has their own story, and each is resolved at the end. That was actually my favourite part of the book, and I'll admit it left me a bit choked up. I got to the end and just wanted to turn back to the beginning and read it again, just so I could stay with these characters - both human and canine - for a little longer. I even liked the two nasty hellhounds, Darth and Terminator, who try and chase our heroic group across a field. Aside from their genius names, it transpires that even they can be kind, compassionate dogs. Obviously they're not as cool as Fleck and Co., though!

Reading One Dog and His Boy gave me a new appreciation for my own dog, who I think I should probably spend more time with (Watch out, Spud!). I'm also now a fan of Eva Ibbotson, and will be hunting down more of her books very soon. I think everyone would enjoy One Dog and His Boy, along with its simple but brilliant drawings by Sharon Rentta. I'll be buying the hardcover for my collection, as I have no doubt that this is one I'll want to re-read!

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VINE VOICEon 9 May 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is just the kind of children's book that makes reading worthwhile. A real adventure, involving runaways, circuses, and some grownups who are not as likeable as they should be. Hal is a little boy with rich parents. His father is always away on business, and his mother is too too clean and hygenic, and loves shopping. For both of them there is really little room in their lives for their son. Everything is OK as long as he doesn't make the house untidy, and appreciates all the money they spend on presents for him. But he only wants one thing - a dog. And eventually, to keep him quiet, his parents rent a "Tottenham Terrier" for the weekend presuming that, like all children, he will soon tire of the dog. But of course, Hal and Fleck are made for each other, and when he has to go back to the rental shop, they are both distraught. By a fluke, fate arranges a breakout at the shop and the adventure begins!
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on 9 June 2011
After seeing all the glowing reviews about One Dog and his Boy, I couldn't resist choosing this book from the library bookshelf.
Hal Fenton is desperate for a dog and was desperately disappointed to not receive one for his birthday. Mr Fenton's idea of hiring a dog for the weekend, thinking that Hal will be tired of it by the end of it, doesn't quite work out, especially when Hal discovers the nasty trick his parents have played on him.
Hal decides to take matter in to his own hands, and an exciting doggy adventure takes place.
The special bond between Hal and Fleck the dog, is captured just perfect in this book, and Hal's determination to keep that bond, teaches his parents a lesson or two.
This is such a lovely book and made for sharing. The dog illustrations by Sharon Rentta add wonderful vivid detail throughout the story. I like the fact that the illustrations are so good, that any unused drawings were too good to leave out and are enclosed at the back of the book. This is a wonderful read from start to finish.
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on 23 April 2012
I read this to my 8-year-old daughter, and we both quite enjoyed it, without being riveted. The narrative never entirely caught fire, and I never had that feeling of urgency from my daughter, that willing-on of bedtime, that I've had with some other books. But, as I say, this is good book, just not a great one. I think Ibbotson will be remembered for one masterpiece (Journey to the River Sea), backed up by a solid body of work, into which this book fits nicely.
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