Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Amy June Bates. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011.
This Bluestem nominee is the lovely story of four dogs, a cat, a boy and his sister, and how they saved their family. After their father leaves them without saying why or whether he is ever coming back, their mom takes them to a shelter with the intention of adopting a dog to cheer them up. After meeting Neo, Bitty, Grace, Bryn, and Lula the cat their mom decides to take everyone one home. Their little house is now full of dogs, with dogs and cat selecting a family member as their main companion. Slowly they start to learn about each dog’s personality as we can hear them talking, however, for this to happen you have to believe that magic surrounds you and to do that you have to know who you are and what you are willing to fight for in order to save your family. I loved the sketch like pencil illustrations, their softness and details support the story as it leads the reader to believe in the magic surrounding us.