Chester and Gus
By Cammie McGovern
272 pages – ages 9+
Published by HarperCollins on April 4, 2017
Synopsis from the Publisher- “Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true—until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn’t even want Chester in the room. Chester’s not sure how to help Gus since this isn’t exactly the job he trained for—but he’s determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person.”
What I Thought- I enjoyed this book – it really brought a lot of insight into not only the background behind service dogs, but also into the lives of lower-functioning autistic kids. One thing I thought was really interesting was how McGovern explains how dogs communicate with people – I don’t want to spoil the book, but it is a central aspect, and you will love it too! The book is told from a service dog’s, point of view. Chester is a sweet dog, trained to want to help people, and he will go above and beyond to help others. I do like how McGovern has Chester, who is surprisingly a figure one can easily relate to, compare and contrast Gus for us. Chester shows us ways that he is similar to Gus (not liking loud noises, for example), and is also able to succinctly explain Gus’ other behaviors as well. This will ultimately give readers more of an understanding about lower-functioning autistic kids. As the reader learns more about Gus and why he is the way he is – Chester clears up misconceptions. Chester sees Gus for who he is and is totally accepting. The unconditional love between a dog and his human is explained beautifully. The book is well-written, flows nicely and doesn’t drag at all. I think kids will benefit from reading about two lives we don’t normally get an inside look on. Maybe it will help us all to see the world a bit more like Chester and appreciate those who are beautifully different from ourselves. I highly recommend this book!
I give this book five out of five bookworms!
Categories: Age 9+