By Mark Myers
211 pages – ages 9+
Published by Pelican Hater Books on December 19, 2013
It all started with a ball game between four kids, an army veteran out for a walk, and the little town in Georgia called Portsong in the 1920’s. When Virgil Creech (the youngest in the nasty Creech family), and his friends Henry Lee, Joe, and Willie, are playing a ball game, and Virgil’s team is losing, he starts throwing a temper tantrum, kicking the ball at Henry. It went over Henry’s head, and it hit a retired military man from England, the Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle, injuring him and knocking him unconscious. The boys get an ambulance, but don’t tell how the Colonel got in that condition. Through a misunderstanding, the boys think that the Colonel was blinded by the accident. So, Henry, Joe, and Willie decide to get him a seeing-eye dog. They take a dog from the junkyard and give him a night’s training, and then Henry drops it off in the Colonel’s hospital room. Unbeknownst to the boys, the dog was once owned by nasty Virgil, and he’ll do anything to get that dog back, no matter how happy the dog makes the Colonel.
This was a great historical fiction novel about friendship, being a good person, and about community. The story was very well done, and I think that Mr. Myers got the feel, language, and authenticity of the time period down pat. Virgil is a character you come to care for, but, to me, it seemed like Henry was the real main character. I didn’t mind that. Virgil still played an important part. I loved to read about Virgil plotting to get his dog back. The cover of the book is magnificent and goes well with the story. I would really like to read other books by Mr. Myers. I think that this book is a lot of fun to read and kids who wouldn’t normally read a historical fiction-type book will enjoy reading this story.
To read an adults view on this book, check out Michelle Isenhoff’s review HERE.