The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer

The Dog Who Lost His Bark

Eoin Colfer, Author

P.J. Lynch, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, Sep. 10, 2019

Pages: 144

Suitable for Ages: 7-10 years

Themes: Boy, Dog, Rescue shelter, Divorce, Music, Multigenerational family

Opening: “The LOUD MAN called him DOG. Or PUP. Or MONGREL. But mostly DOG.”

Synopsis: Patrick Coin’s dad is a musician and in Australia, while Patrick and his mother are spending their summer vacation at Grandad’s house. Patrick is puzzled by his father’s absence and isn’t satisfied with his mother’s answers. She suggests Patrick get a dog.

Patrick has longed for a dog of his own forever. With his father away, he could use a best friend more than ever. Grandad suggests they visit the local rescue shelter. Patrick chooses a small, sad dog in the last cage. He names him Oz.

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.

Why I like this book:

The cover shouts “read me.” Dog’s face is so sad and lonely.  Nearly every page is accompanied by P.J. Lynch’s realistic and expressive pencil illustrations that illuminate  Eoin Colfer’s heartwarming story and makes it sing.

Readers first meet Dog, who is mistreated and discarded in a dump by previous owners. Dog stops barking because he knows barking means no food and trouble. He’s rescued and taken to a shelter. When Patrick meets Dog, he sees the pup as a “potential soul mate.” Patrick names him Oz. Dog is cautious and afraid, but Patrick is patient and loving.

The story also follows Patrick who has to cope with an absentee father, his parents’ separation and new partners, and some tough choices to make. Foturnately Patrick has a strong bond with his grandfather and a devoted dog who loves him. I enjoy reading stories about multigenerational relationships.

I love how Colfer uses the power of music to heal the mistreated dog, and later, Patrick.  When Grandad plays a melody on a tin whistle, Oz whines most of the tune back to him. Patrick pulls out his violin and starts to play a tune and Oz howls it back to him. Oz finds music soothing and the two create a bond of trust, that carries through to the end of the story, when Patrick discovers the truth of his parents’ separation. Oz knows what Patrick needs to heal.

This inspiring story by Eoin Colfer, internationally best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl fantasy series, is certain to enchant many readers, who will undoubtedly relate to Patrick’s sitution.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Copy provided by the publisher.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

24 thoughts on “The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer

  1. Hadn’t heard of this book, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. I read the first three Artemis Fowl books as they pubbed, but didn’t stick with the series after that. This sounds like it’s for a much younger audience!

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  2. I read and reviewed this book. I loved every part of it, especially the artwork. This author captured a dog’s voice perfectly in my opinion (pun intended, yet comment serious). I highly recommend this book to all.

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  3. Oh, my. I can’t resist the cover! My son, even at the advanced age of 16 would still love to read this book. He loves all things dog, and read all of the Animal Ark books about saving strays and the like. I’d probably need a tissue or two to make it through….

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  4. Lucky Patrick found Oz and figured out how to help him. I mean – no bark!? What a nightmare. The mailman will just run around willy-nilly delivering mail. The maintenance staff will just clean and repair things whenever they please. GAH! Doggies need to bark to be in charge and keep things in order…

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

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  5. This book sounds so wholesome in so many ways?? Oh my gosh. I love how it follows a rescued dog AND incorporates music into it! The title reminds me of when my cat meowed too much and lost his voice lol, which is quite different from the story of this book–but I thought I’d share? Anyway, I feel like this book is important for both animals and humans, and I’m so happy people are writing about things like this. Awesome post!

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