By Author / Illustrator
David Fickling Books
Paperback / softback
Between dog and human there is a special bond. A bond that must never be broken... Pup and his boy are inseparable. But both their worlds change forever when Pup is cruelly taken away and abandoned in Dead Dog Alley. With nowhere else to turn, Pup joins a pack of misfit Street Dogs, who help him learn to fight for survival on the streets. Pup holds on to the hope of one day being reunited with his boy. But as that hope shrinks with every passing day, Pup begins to wonder if their bond is irreversibly broken...
A thrilling and heart-warming novel by award-winning author Gill Lewis, celebrating the unique bond between humans and animals, and the power of unconditional love.
In A Street Dog Named Pup, Pup is cruelly dumped by the roadside as a result of his barking. He is lost, separated from his beloved Boy and he is confused. The rules of street living are unknown to the innocent Pup and fending for himself is a struggle. Luckily, he happens upon Frenchi, a well-meaning French Bulldog who befriends Pup and allows him to become a member of an eclectic mix of street dogs, each with a story of loss and survival.
These characters will each find a place in your heart and their stories will grip you and sometimes make you sad. The skill of Gill Lewis' writing is to bring each dog to life with their unique personalities and traits which match the idiosyncrasies of their breeds. Merle is a border collie and cannot resist counting and checking that the gang are all where they should be - a throwback from her herding days. Saffy is an adorable Labrador who mothers and gently loves whilst Lady Fifi, the matriarchal figure of the pack, is old and rather ragged, living in a handbag and wearing a diamante collar. Not only has Gill Lewis skilfully created vivid images in the reader's imagination, she has also illustrated the book in the most wonderful detail.
Pup has much to learn and as the story unfolds he learns to live by his wits in order to survive. He learns the value of loyalty and although he becomes a resilient street fighter, he never loses his love for his Boy, nor his hope that one day, they will be together again. Weaving through Pup's story are sections told through the eyes of Boy. It is heart wrenching to know that whilst Pup is out there on the streets, Boy is longing for him and living through his own difficulties. This mirroring adds to the rhythm and to the momentum of the tale and makes the resolution all the more emotional.
There are realistic and quite gritty scenes of dog fights and violence within the pages and the cruelty of humans to animals and also animal to animal features strongly. This would not be one to read if you are a fan of cute animal stories and not one for younger, sensitive readers. It is a true to life tale and so loss and death do feature. Ultimately, this is a unique adventure story with characters who bound off of the page and a story line that will grip you from the very beginning. Pup is going to stay in your heart long after the last page has been turned.
304 pages / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+