Sheep by Valerie Hobbs.
If The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was a book about a border collie instead of a toy rabbit, you’d have Sheep. You see, there’s a
rabbit dog, who gets separated from his original owner. And then this rabbit dog has a succession of other owners, some poor, some who are in tragic circumstances. And in the end the rabbit dog finds a good owner again. Yes, I’m absolutely oversimplifying and I can’t say that the dog learns any great life lessons or undergoes a transformation like Edward Tulane, but the similarity was striking. The end result, however, is that I failed in my mission to bring you only happy doggie books, because although in the end everything turns out okay, there’s a fair amount of doggie pain and suffering along the way. At least I warned you, right? You never would have guessed there was anything worrisome with an adorable cover like. I did really enjoy the way the dog’s perspective was written! Definitely a good pick for readers who enjoy reading about animals, but perhaps not for the most sensitive ones.
Age Recommendation: Grades 3+. It would take a strong third grade reader, but fourth and higher should have no trouble with this one. Despite other similarities, it is much easier than The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.
Great for: Kids who really liked The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Because of the similarities, it would also work for teachers seeking to make connections between texts. Also for kids who like animal books and can take a little bit of darkness in with the cute. Fans of The Underneath might also enjoy this!
Sex, Nudity, Dating – He loves another dog.
Profanity – “darn/ed,” “dang,” “heck,” and “retardo,” which is used excessively.
Death, Violence and Gore – One of the dog’s owners lost his wife and baby years ago. An owner passes away of old age. When dog is at the circus, we learn that the circus man has beaten another dog to death and whips and beats his current dogs. There’s an ooky description of road kill.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – There is cigar smoking.
Frightening or Intense Things – In addition to the dog abuse, there are a few fires. There’s also a part with a little boy who lives at an orphanage.