Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth
|Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Anne Thompson|
|Summary: Past and present are woven together in this story as teenager Jessie learns about World War 2 whilst also dealing with the realities of everyday life. A story about kindness and forgiveness told with care. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: March 2014|
|Publisher: Catnip Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize: Best Fiction for 5-12s
Once upon a time Jessie had three wishes. One of these wishes is for a dog of her own. When her Grandma unexpectedly gets a small white dog, Snowy, it would seem that one of her wishes has come true. But the dog prompts a worrying change in Jessie’s Grandma’s behaviour and she appears troubled by memories from her childhood, fearing that something dreadful will happen to Snowy. As past and present mingle Jessie learns that, just like Fairy Tales, goodies and baddies may not always be as they appear.
The arrival of Snowy is cheering for Jessie as things have not been going well for her recently; her dad has lost his job, the family has moved to a smaller house and her cousin Fran has abandoned her in favour of the cool crowd at school. Jessie is an unsophisticated young teenager and a bit of a worrier and therefore a reassuring character for many readers. She is a thoughtful girl trying to make sense of the world around her. Jessie’s history class has started studying Nazi Germany and gradually she comes to realise that the memories haunting her Grandma may be linked to the horrors that she is learning about at school. What will this mean to Jessie and her family and can Jessie help to allay her Grandma’s fears?
This is such a lovely, thoughtful book and although told in a gentle style it has a powerful impact. What makes the story special is not so much the plot or the characters, although Jessie is a very likeable girl, it is the important message it conveys and the tone in which it is written. The author’s care for the subject matter is evident throughout and this, I imagine, will cause the reader to think carefully about the issues dealt with in this debut novel. This would be invaluable in schools prompting discussion on all manner of subjects. Weighty themes including dementia, disability, bullying and immigration are handled at an appropriate level for young readers and the writing style is accessible and the way in which this is linked to fairy tales works well. As an adult I found the comparisons between historical events and some situations today unsettling. I realise that this description may give the impression that this is a depressing read but this is not the case. Although poignant, this is a story of hope and demonstrates the power of forgiveness and kindness. Initially I did wonder if Anne Booth was possibly trying to include too many social issues but she manages this so naturally that it does not feel contrived.
This deceptively simple story is a thought provoking read from which young people will learn much about the impact of discrimination both historically and in the present day. A moving and very special book.
Thank you to the publishers, Catnip Publishing, for providing the review copy of this book.
Children's books like this one can be an excellent way for young readers to learn about important and sometimes disturbing matters and the Bookbag has put together a list of such titles that you may find helpful Top Ten Children's Books About Weighty Subjects
You can read more book reviews or buy Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth at Amazon.com.
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