Friday, July 20, 2012


Original cover
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Atheneum Books for Young Readers | September 1991

Marty is 11 and lives in West Virginia in a small town. One day, a dog shows up and follows him around. It's clear something has happened to him because he's so timid and shy. After learning he belongs to the mean man down the street and keeps running off because of mistreatment, Marty decides to keep the dog hidden up on the hill behind his house, sneak him food, and names him Shiloh, after the nearby school building where he and the dog first met.

Soon, the web of lies in which Marty is entangled has grown and his parents catch him in it. How will Marty save himself, save Shiloh, and make everything right in the end?
The cover I have

This Newbery Medal Book is fantastically written, heart-warming without being saccharine, and one of the best boy-and-dog stories I've ever read. The regional language used is authentic yet accessible by any child no matter where they live. The universal messages of love, family, care, compassion, knowing-one's-place, small town living, rules of society, and honesty are clear and integrated without being didactic.

The book is the first in a trilogy which includes Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh, neither of which I've read, but I'm going to go seek them out. If they are even close to as good as this one, it'll be a treat.

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