- Lost!: A Dog Called Bear
Logan loves Bear, his dog; Hannah wants a dog more than anything. Logan’s and Hannah’s stories interweave as Bear goes missing and Hannah’s dad discovers a stray dog in the back of his pickup. While the reader knows that Hannah’s new dog is actually Logan’s missing Bear, the characters only discover this fact when they finally meet each other in class on the first day of school. The plotting in this Australian import could have gone into implausibility overdrive, but it is actually remarkably gentle and understated. The heart of Logan’s story is actually his parents’ separation, which necessitated the move from farm to town that resulted in Bear’s loss; Logan is thus hurting on multiple levels as he longs for both his dog and his father. Readers will be pleased that Hannah doesn’t end up dogless—her parents end up sufficiently impressed with their daughter’s responsibility in working at the animal shelter to get her a dog of her own. The storytelling is crisp and clean, and the focus is squarely on the child-animal relationships, with a bit of family dynamics worked in. The story will thus appeal to fans of pet fiction as well as those who love happy endings to sad stories. Soft pencil illustrations, sketchily informal but thoughtfully modeled, add interest to the pages.