The Dog Who Lost His Bark
Illustrations: P.J. Lynch
My Rating: 4/5 stars
A warm, uplifting story about a boy, his dog, and the healing power of music marks a first-time collaboration between two former Irish Children’s Laureates, Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch.
Patrick has been desperate for a dog of his own for as long as he can remember, and this summer, with his father away, he longs for a canine friend more than ever. Meanwhile, in his short doggy life, Oz has suffered at the hands of bad people. Somewhere out there, he believes, is an awesome boy — his boy. And maybe, when they find each other, Oz will learn to bark again. Illustrated in light charcoal by two-time Kate Greenaway Medalist P.J. Lynch, this heartwarming story by Eoin Colfer, internationally best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, is certain to enchant.
At first glance, I have to say what first caught my attention on this book was the beautifully illustrated cover. Inside the book, the rest of the illustrations by P.J. Lynch are wonderfully done in pencil sketch and match perfectly with the story.
This story features Oz the puppy who has lost his bark due to traumatic experiences from his previous owners. Oz has been abused first by his original owner and then adopted out only to be abused again by his adopted owners. Oz is found in an abandoned dump site half-starved and taken to a rescue shelter.
Patrick and his mother are spending the summer with his grandfather. Patrick’s grandfather teaches music out of his home and his mother is planning on helping her father with the lessons. Patrick’s father is also a musician but traveling with a band and never home. So when his mom suggests he can have a puppy, Patrick is surprised as his Dad is allergic to animals. When Patrick adopts Oz he works hard to bond with him and help him get over his fears. During this time, Patrick discovers that his parents are divorcing and that his father has started a new life with someone else.
Well, that was an emotional ride of a book and not exactly what I was expecting. It was definitely heart wrenching at times! This story is not for every child, and I do believe you need to take your particular child and their comprehension and maturity into consideration. There are some very emotional and tough subjects this story deals with, animal abuse, separation/divorce, and parental abandonment. In saying that, I do think it does reflect the reality of the world and life we have around us. For children who may be dealing with similar issues, they may be able to associate with Patrick’s situation and his feelings. Although Oz the puppy is left with a happy ending living with his new owner Patrick, Patrick’s family situation is left hanging at the end of the book. I do realize this is the story of Oz (The Dog Who Lost His Bark), but since Patrick does play a huge role in Oz’s recovery and finally finding happiness, I would have liked to have seen Patrick a little more settled.
Oz’s transformation from an abused puppy without a bark, to a happy, loving pup is inspirational. The book is well written with wonderful illustrations. Just be aware of the subjects this book deals with and choose wisely for your particular child.
The Dog Who Lost His Bark – Eoin Colfer: