The Dog Who Lost His Bark is an engaging book for children and adults alike. Written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by P.J. Lynch the story unfolds as it covers some big issues, issues both dog related and people related. I really like the way that the book makes use of how dogs understand the words that they hear humans say. The book has used capitalization of key words, just like dogs process what we say to them. During his first experience with a family, he hears the same word over and over, STUPIDDOG. He also knows that when the little boy in the family pokes him in the ribs and hurts him, he thinks SORE to communicate with the reader. What a great way to tell a story from the dogs point of view. As a dog lover, of course this was hard to read as the book began, but it showed up front that this was going to be an honest telling of the story. I’m happy to say, things get better for both the dog and the human as the story progresses!
Patrick is the boy character in this story and he names this wonderful dog Oz. Patrick has wanted a dog, forever, but his father is allergic to dogs so they never could adopt a dog into their family. This summer, Patrick and his mom are going to stay with Patrick’s Grandad, because his father is away in Australia for his music career. Things seemed a bit strange to Patrick when his mother suggests that they get Patrick a puppy, however he was so excited at the prospect of getting a dog and getting a friend to play with over the summer. As he looked at the dogs that he could adopt he saw a dog that was curled into a ball (because Oz had learned that humans want a dog that is quiet, with the last family). When Patrick saw that this dog had a splash of white on his black fur that looked like Australia, he knew that this would be his dog and would be named Oz.
However, Zane who helps to match the right dog with the right human, suggested that Oz had a lot of issues and maybe he wasn’t the right dog for Patrick. After all, Oz had completely lost his bark and needed extra attention. He explained that Oz had been through a lot, but Patrick knew that this was the dog for him. Things were rocky at the start of their time together. Oz would not leave the safety of his crate, and wasn’t eating anything even though Patrick did everything to let Oz know that he could be trusted and he would help him find his bark again.
Things moved slowly but eventually Oz gave Patrick a shot and found that he was the AWESOME boy that he had been looking for. With some help from Patrick’s mom, Zane and even Oz’s mom, he got his bark back and began to enjoy life as a dog with a special boy for a best friend. However, just like Oz had things to work through, Patrick keeps questioning things about his dad and the truth finally comes out. Now, it’s Patrick that is retreating into himself and making decisions that will affect Oz, unless he can figure out how to help him in return.
The Dog Who Lost His Bark is a great book about the ways that dogs and humans react and respond to each other. Helping each other by using their own skills to make things better for their best friends. A must read for anyone that has loved an animal and benefited from that relationship.
Disclosure: Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this e-book for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.