Paterson, Katherine. The Field of the Dogs. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. HarperCollins, 2001. ISBN 0-06-029475-2. $14.89. 89 pp. B 3-7 FI Reviewed by Janet O. Francis Yet another displaced kid, disillusioned by divorce and a stepfather (who’s doing his best), Josh hates Vermont, hates his life, and doesn’t even like Manch, his dog. Then Josh finds out that he has the power to understand the doggy conversation Manch has with his friends. When Manch and his crew get in trouble with a gang of city dogs, Josh thinks his only solution is his stepdad’s gun. The resulting chaos helps Josh to better realize his human relationships but ends his special ability. This easy-read story is based on a unique possibility, but the characters remain static, and the gun control, animal training, and sad kid themes fight for the primary position, leaving the book without a clear lesson. It doesn’t meet the author’s usual standard.
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