Review Blog

Apr 03 2008

Best mate by Michael Morpurgo

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Ill. by Michael Foreman. HarperCollins 2007
(Age 10+) A winner for all animal lovers, this heart-warming story from an award-winning author relates the story of a greyhound as he goes on an adventurous journey through life. On his way to school, Patrick spies a wriggling sack in the canal and rescues a mass of puppies, one of which he gets to keep. The reader might expect that this would be the start of a wonderful life for Best Mate, the little greyhound puppy, but it is only the beginning of a series of traumatic, sad and ultimately uplifting events as he goes from one owner to another.

This is a compulsive yet easy read as Morpurgo weaves a series of interrelated stories around the adventures of one dog and how they influence the lives of the people around him. The reader will be warmed by the way Patrick responds and grows with a dog as a best mate; thrilled by BrightEyesí speed as a champion greyhound and saddened by the treatment of greyhounds when they are too old to race. The authorís description of the dogís loyalty to the runaway Becky and his career as a protestor for the rights of the aged are wonderful.

Michael Foremanís quirky illustrations add a dimension to the young readerís understanding of the plot and greatly enhance the readerís knowledge of greyhounds, their speed and racing skills.

A great story that would be good to read aloud, this book comes highly recommended.
Pat Pledger

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