This short story is one of Welsh publisher Graffeg’s Country Tales, a series of illustrated short stories about young people growing up in the countryside. It describes Clinton’s happy life on his Caribbean island home, living with his Gran, fishing with his uncle and roaming the beach with his beloved dog, Rufus. When Clinton must leave to join his mother and her new family in London his life is turned upside down and he feels lost and unable to settle until a school trip leads him to discover the joys of helping on a farm. Here, he is given a puppy, a new “best friend”.
This is a beautiful, gentle and moving story about the difficulties of starting a new life with all the feelings of loss and displacement that involves; it has a great deal of resonance in today’s unsettled world. The appealing cover and soft, pastel, black and white illustrations enhance the atmosphere of this sensitive story. Although Clinton’s tale is short, there are large blocks of text so this warm, poignant depiction of a young boy finding his place in the countryside would best suit confident young readers, or family sharing, and would give all much to think about and enjoy.