Dear Hound by Jill Murphy

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Dear Hound by Jill Murphy

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Alfie the Deerhound pup gets lost in a thunderstorm - a heart-warming tale of the love between the dog and his boy and of survival in the wild. Definitely recommended
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN: 978-0141383989

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Alfie is a Deerhound. Actually he's also a dear hound because he's much loved by his boy, Charlie, to the extent that you might call him a dear Deerhound, if you see what I mean. Alfie is just a pup, but he's still a massive dog and he's really just a big softy. Traditionally Deerhounds have the grey hair on their ears stripped back to the velvety-black under fur, but only one of Alfie's ears has been stripped, because, well, it hurt. Add to this the fact that he's frightened of thunderstorms and has promised the cat that he will never chase her again so long as he can cuddle up to her when there's a storm and you know all that you need to know about this streak of grey lightening.

Actually, you will find out a little bit more about Deerhounds at the beginning of the book because Jill Murphy gives us an illustrated guide to the hounds, from their various ear styles (yes, you read that correctly) to their love of comfort and their ability to grovel. It's amusing reading and useful two, because it will explain a great deal about what happens to Charlie over the next few months.

When Charlie and his Mum go away overnight to a wedding they put Alfie into kennels, but he manages to escape – only to find himself far from home, frightened and in the middle of a thunderstorm. Will he ever find his beloved boy again? Will Charlie ever believe that Alfie is really lost and not coming home? Will Alfie learn to hunt (he promised the cat that he would never chase) or will he survive on the cheese rolls and other food thrown away by a local restaurant?

Oh, it's a lovely story. Charlie will never give up on Alfie, even when it looks as though the dog is never going to be found. And Alfie never gives up on wanting to get home again either. He makes friends with a couple of foxes who teach him the basics of survival and whilst some of what happens might seem a little twee to those who're not fond of human thoughts and actions being attributed to animals it's going to be spot on for most of the target age group. The main human character is a boy, but I suspect that the book will appeal equally to girls.

It's Jill Murphy so you know that you're going to get a great, well-written story. You know that you're not going to have to worry that there might be something in there that's not suitable for a child. It's a sensitive subject – losing an animal which has become a member of the family – and Jill Murphy handles it with all her usual aplomb.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you haven't read The Worst Witch books then you really should. For more on the subject of losing a beloved animal we can recommend Michael Morpurgo's reworking of the Black Beauty story.

Buy Dear Hound by Jill Murphy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Hound by Jill Murphy at

Buy Dear Hound by Jill Murphy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Hound by Jill Murphy at


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Marisol Rosado said:

Good review I thought it was sad