Incredibly funny and touching, this is the last story by a much-loved author whose books show extraordinary insight into the mind of a child. All Hal has ever wanted is a dog. But his wealthy parents refuse, throwing at him instead all sorts of fancy, expensive toys. When his disappointment gives way to listlessness, his father has a brainwave – he’ll let Hal choose a dog from Easy Pets, a dog agency that hires out pets for special occasions. Of course, he doesn’t tell Hal that the animal is only for the weekend. Overjoyed, Hal chooses a scruffy little mongrel called Fleck. Life is blissful – until, a few days later, he discovers that he’s been tricked and that Fleck has been returned to the Agency in his absence. Outraged, Hal runs away.
The story is deeply understanding of child readers of this age group. Every obstacle – and there are many – that Hal’s runaway adventure throws up is successfully – and happily – resolved so that the story is suspenseful yet gently reassuring. Acutely observant, the book is brimming with humour – affectionate towards the children and dogs, and biting towards the adults who treat them as possessions and accessories. Characters both human and animal are real and sharply defined. Adding further enjoyment to this richly entertaining story are Sharon Rentta’s expressive line drawings capturing the flavour of each chapter.