1992: Shiloh (Budding PETA member)

VERDICT: Treasure

Laurinda’s Rating: 3.5/5

Shiloh, the 1992 Newbery Medal Winner, is a simple tale of a boy longing for a dog and doing what it takes to hold onto it when he finds one.

The tl;dr version: West Virginian poor boy finds abused dog in the woods and keeps it hidden from his parents. Dog is attacked by another dog one night, revealing the secret. Boy successfully barters with the neighbour who owns the dog. Everyone lives happily ever after.

The actual story is more involved. It focuses on the boy, Marty, and the moral dilemmas he faces after finding Shiloh the beagle in the woods. Marty has to decide whether to lie to his parents about the dog, how to feed Shiloh, and whether Shiloh’s owner’s right to the dog as property balances out against the poor way in which he treats all of his dogs. It illustrates the slippery slope begun by one lie but chooses to focus on the courage and conscience Marty shows in trying to protect an abused animal from its abuser.

This is a decent enough read, with a focus on characterization rather than action. I recommend it for those who love dogs as well as to a general middle grades audience.


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