Saturday 20 September 2014

My dog doesn’t like me

My dog doesn’t like me by Elizabeth Fensham (University of Queensland Press)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 978 0 7022 5017 0
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

Poor Eric! All his life he’s wanted a dog of his own. And now that he has one – Ugly – it seems that the dog just doesn’t like him. Ugly won’t obey him, especially when they’re out on walks together. Ugly doesn’t follow him or play with him or even pay him much attention. Ugly likes everybody in the family more than Eric, which is particularly depressing considering his obnoxious older sister scores higher than Eric in Ugly’s esteem.

Eric just wants to know what’s wrong with his dog. And so do his family, who threaten to remove Ugly unless Eric learns to control him. But help is at hand. With his grandfather’s and friends’ assistance, Eric gradually discovers that much of the problem lies in an entirely unexpected place – with him.

As the narrative unfolds, Eric learns to take responsibility for his dog, which means doing unpleasant things when he doesn’t feel like it, and to persist with them. Eric slowly starts to reconnect with Ugly and realises that relationships take time and effort, but the rewards are great!

A charming story for children over 7. It clearly illustrates a boy’s learning journey; that the most valuable things in life are those you earn.

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