Mutt's Promise

illus. by Jill Weber. 256p. Dial. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525427780.
Gr 4–6—After a stray dog, Mutt, saves his pet cat from an attack, Mr. Thomas invites Mutt to stay on his farm. She is very much loved by Gilbert, the son of the farm's migrant worker. Soon, Mutt gives birth to four puppies; Gilbert adores them all, especially the one he names Luna. But his family must move on. The puppies grow and become more aware of their mother's courage and optimistic outlook. Two of the pups are adopted to good homes, but Mr. Thomas is bullied by the owner of a puppy mill into giving over the others, Chief and Luna. The puppies manage to escape the terrible mill and after an arduous journey are found by workers from a pet rescue organization. They recover from their ordeal and are adopted by Marty, an animal trainer. Chief proudly becomes a police dog, and Luna becomes a media star, but she won't be truly happy until she is reunited with Gilbert once again. The story is written in short sentences with a clear message about puppy mills, pet rescue organizations, and the bond between humans and dogs. The book is illustrated with childlike drawings in graphite and charcoal whose tones, ranging from light to very dark, are effective in communicating the narrative.
VERDICT Dog lovers, especially those who prefer a tale that is easy to read and has a happy ending, will enjoy this upbeat book.

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