Hal was a boy with rich and snobbish parents, who was given everything on the market for his birthday, with his mother sending out to Hamleys for all the latests gizmos and gadgets, but Hal never got what he really wanted for his birthday - a dog. A dog which, his mother believed, would dirty her pristine show house! However, when his father returned late from his latest business trip on Hal's birthday, forgetting to pick up a present from duty free, he promised Hal a dog, one from Easy Pets, a dog hire company. Hal's father thought it would be a passing fad, and Hal would be glad to return it after the end of the 'hire'. However, as soon as Hal set his eyes on Fleck, a mongrel who should never of been at Easy Pets, Hal was in love, as was Fleck. After a fun filled few days, Hals mother tricked Hal into visiting the dentist with the au pair while she returned Fleck to Easy Pets and Hal was inconsolable on his return. The following story tells of the bond between Fleck and Hal, but also of the dogs in Room A at Easy Pets.
It was a beautiful story, a story which could be shared at bed time between parent and child. Ibbotson writes at a level suitable for children of all ages to understand and tells of the true and everlasting bond between a dog and its owner, each looking out for the other. It also tells of how children can be overloaded with expensive toys and gadgets and not appreciate them - money can not buy a child's love! However, the love of a pet can be just as rewarding.
There is also the story of Hal's determination to keep Fleck, a journey across country to his grandparents house, who are not rich, but understand the love of an animal. The journey was a great adventure and I loved to read about it and loved the ending to the book.
Another big part of this book for me are the pencil sketch drawings by Sharon Rentta. They are full of life and each sketch shows the dog's unique character. In the copy I was sent was extra sketches at the back of the book where Rentta had submitted extra sketches and the publishers decided to include all of them!
I would recommend this as a great gift idea for children aged 7+, as a book to share at bedtime and for older children to read themselves.
I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.