This story reminded us of quite an old-fashioned, boy and his dog, against all odds style of story. We felt that it filled a gap in that stage of reading for just independent readers who are going beyond the very early chapter books. We also thought that the narration from Rascal’s point of view was done very well and we thought that the children would enjoy reading a story from the dog’s perspective.
We thought there was just the right amount of tension and excitement, but it was noted that some students might be very upset when they realise that Rascal is left behind. Rascal’s abandonment came as quite a surprise to the readers who hadn’t realised that this was the first book in a series where it seems it will take Rascal quite some time to get home. We talked about the foreshadowing in the text when Rascal notes that in the long times ahead he would remember back to the night he was with Joel.
Dealing with the themes of loyalty and friendship this is a wonderful first book in a series that will appeal to a lot of newly independent readers.