Review Detail

Kids Fiction 2124
Dogs and Snowstorms
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Teddy is an Irish wolfhound who has been raised by Sylvan, a poet who worked in his cabin in the woods. Sylvan read to Teddy and talked to him constantly, so now Teddy can converse in human speech. In the middle of a huge snowstorm, Teddy finds two children, Nickel and Flora. He brings them to the cabin, and the three hole up in the warmth to wait for the storm to pass. While doing so, Teddy shares his story with the children, surprised that they can understand him. Eventually, Teddy is able to summon the help of Ellie, who was Sylvan's friend. She manages to get the children returned to their home, and since Sylvan has passed away, Teddy stays with this new family.
Good Points
Like all of MacLachlan's work, this is a spare but beautifully written book about the importance of family, reading, and connecting to others. Each chapter is headed by delicate black and white drawings of trees in the snow, which gives a nice atmospheric quality to the book and makes us appreciate the coziness of the cabin.

Narrated by Teddy, the story moves quickly and doesn't need too much more explanation of Teddy's ability to communicate other than the simple fact that he was brought up among words by someone who loved them dearly.

Teddy is grieving the loss of Sylvan, but connecting with the children eases his pain-- Nickel walks through the woods with his hand on Teddy's back in the way that Sylvan did, and Flora feeds and takes care of him. While basking in the children's presence, Teddy thinks back to the last days in Sylvan's life and remembers both the good and the bad things. As Teddy himself laments (although dogs cannot cry), it is a poignant time.

Adults will love this as a tissue-worthy read aloud to join the ranks of books such as DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane , Patterson's Bridge to Terebithia, and Wiles' Each Little Bird that Sings.
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