The main character in Carol Poustie’s Dog Gone is the feisty Ish. With the death of his grandfather and the break up of his parent’s marriage, he’s had a lot to deal with lately. His dog and best friend, Lucky is the one who has helped him through.
Ish and his sister Molly have been sent to stay with Grandma while their mum takes a ‘healing holiday’. But when Ish’s Mum has an accident, it soon becomes clear that their stay with Grandma is going to become a bit more permanent. This means that Ish is forced to start at a new school where things aren’t what he’s used to. Then there’s the school bully who takes an instant dislike to Ish and finds a way to blackmail him.
Just when things look like they couldn’t get any worse, Ish’s beloved dog, Lucky disappears. Lucky means everything to Ish. He is the friend who has helped him through the bad times – through the difficulties of his parent’s marriage breakup and his constant conflict with his sister Molly.
Ish misses his Grandfather who always seemed to know how to make him feel better about things. When he goes to visit his grandfather’s grave, he finds that there’s something mysterious happening in the cemetery.
I darted into the cemetery and hid behind a tombstone. I hunched myself up, balancing on the balls of my feet, straining to peer into the night, listening anxiously for whoever was out there to make another sound. It was freezing – I had trouble keeping my jaw clamped shut so my teeth didn’t chatter.
Grandfather was a poet who passed his skills and love of poetry onto Ish and it’s here that Ish finds solace and understanding. He’s also helped by Grandpa’s fishing rod, which seems to have taken on a life of its own. And further assistance comes from an unlikely source.
This book is full of action and suspense but it’s also a poignant tale of a boy whose family is at the crossroads. It’s a story of loyalty, courage, unexpected friendship and the healing power of poetry.
Children who love dogs and adventure will enjoy this story. Dog Gone is published by Avant Press. It is written by Carole Poustie www.carolpoustie.com.au and illustrated by Andrew McLean.