Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Newbery Medalist MacLachlan creates a spare, moving tale told from the perspective of Teddy, the dog of the title. Teddy can speak, but only poets and children can understand him, so Teddy isn't surprised when both Nicholas (Nickel) and his younger sister, Flora, ask him for help when they get lost in a snowstorm. Since the death of his owner and friend, Sylvan, Teddy has relied on Sylvan's student, Ellie, for care. But Ellie and Teddy know that the arrangement isn't forever, and Teddy needs to find a way to move on and love again. Using simple words that even youngest readers will understand and enjoy, MacLachlan tackles subjects such as death and mourning with understated grace ("And he closes his eyes, his hands still on my neck. By the time Ellie gets there he is still. Silence"). Overarching themes of love and family permeate the narrative, providing readers of all ages with a deep understanding of the relationship Teddy had with his previous owner and the one he is building with his new family. Ages 6-10. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* I found the boy at dusk. So begins this love story, told by a dog. During a blizzard, siblings Nickle and Flora leave their car to find help. (Their mother has already gone for the same reason.) Irish wolfhound Teddy leads them to the cabin of Sylvan, a poet who once befriended him and became the only one who could understand Teddy's words until now. The children are not overly surprised that Teddy can talk; indeed, they are charmed. More pressing is figuring out how to keep themselves safe in the storm, because, as it becomes clear, Sylvan is no longer alive. Writing in a spare cadence that is perfectly precise, Newbery Medalist MacLachlan moves back and forth in time as Teddy remembers his days with the cranky but perceptive Sylvan and regathers his sense of stability as he makes new memories with Nickle and Flora. To be able to touch the deepest places of loss, hope, and love with a minimum of flair and fuss is a rare gift, and MacLachlan gently brings her readers to a place where the results of magical thinking are as real as life's trials. Near the book's end, Teddy reveals that before his death, Sylvan told him to watch for two jewels. Readers will find their own jewels in this gem of a book.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Teddy, an Irish wolfhound, recounts his rescue of two children after a car crash in winter. Teddy speaks but is only understood by poets and children. In flashbacks he also reveals that his human, a poet, has recently died. Through his care of the children, Teddy comes to accept his loss in this heartfelt, atmospheric novella. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.