This is a poignant story about hope and the love between a boy and his Pup. I was excited to receive this book as I’ve read Gill Lewis before. Sky Hawk was the first book I shared in a teacher led book club so I knew I would enjoy her latest offering.
A Street Dog Named Pup certainly didn’t disappoint. I was hooked from the beginning and I felt a connection with Pup and the other street dogs from the get go. The story follows Pup after he has been abandoned by the big man in Dead Dog Alley. He is found by French bulldog Frenchi who quickly takes Pup under his wing and teaches him the ways of the street along with the other members of The Railway Den.
This book would lend itself well to a class read aloud for Year 4 upwards or as a guided text for Year 5 and Year 6. There are many avenues to explore including hope, the bond between man and dog, the relationship between the street dogs, good versus evil and ethical issues such as dog fighting and forbidden breeds. Gill Lewis expertly interweaves the boys feelings into the story as he never gives up hope of finding Pup. The way they are written in italics helps the reader to picture the distance between the boy and Pup. This structural technique is another of the many discussion points this story offers.
Throughout the book The Great Sky Wolf is referred to and the decision the wolf Sirius made to stay with man and not return to the mountains. The meaning behind this story is used by the dogs to emphasise the bond between dog and man. However Rex the pit bull terrier cross believes that Sirius was a traitor and due to how he’s been treated has become distrustful of man. Rex in particular is a complex character to explore and his actions offer lots of discussion opportunities about right and wrong.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to any KS2 teacher. It would make a great addition to any school library or class book corner. This is a book that I will never forget as Pup has a special place in my heart and he will become an unforgettable character for any future readers.
You can listen to Gill Lewis talking to Nikki Gamble about A Street Dog Named Pup in this episode of In the Reading Corner:
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