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James Heneghan
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Scholastic Canada, 1991. 140pp, paper, $3.95
ISBN 0-590-74044-X. CIP

Grades 4 to 7/ Ages 9 to 12

Reviewed by Ray Doiron.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

To the popular genre of the dog story Heneghan has added elements of realistic fiction and science fiction to create a satisfying and gentle story of a boy and his dog.

Andy Scott and his mother have left behind the hard times of their city life to work on the farm of Quinn McAtee. McAtee accidentally kills Andy's dog at the beginning of the story and Andy takes a hard, unforgiving attitude towards McAtee until the exciting climax and resolution.

During Andy's mourning for his beloved pet, a strange object crash lands in the farmyard, leaving an alien being dead. The next morning, Andy discov­ers a strange, blue woolly dog, whom he quickly adopts. Before long, he realizes that Blue is able to communicate telepathically by sending and receiving pictures. They can not only send pictures to each other, but Andy can also move "into" Blue's mind and see and hear and smell the world through the senses of a dog.

The experiences Andy has while in the mind of Blue are written in rich, descriptive language. They leave Andy (and the reader) exhilarated and wanting more. The climactic scene in the grain silo forces Andy to face his fear of heights and to gain a more realistic perspective on the blossoming relationship between McAtee and his mother. Eventually, Blue is taken back home by another flying saucer in a moving and believable farewell scene. Andy is left with the message that these aliens will return when he is older and take him to their world. McAtee and Andy make their peace a few weeks later when the farm collie gives birth to five pups, one of which is blue.

Heneghan writes in a clear and realistic way, making the science fiction elements believable and exciting. The chapters are short and are written with the grade 4 to 6 child in mind. Children who like dog stories will find the story of Blue warm, imaginative and exciting.


Ray Doiron, Glen Stewart Elementary School, Southport, P.E.I.
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