Book Review – “Angus and Sadie”

*This review is in memory of my Border Collie mix, Chloe, who passed away on May 21, 2016, at the age of 16. She is and will always be deeply missed by my family and me. She was such a smart girl and a lovable sweetheart.*

Angus and Sadie
The Story:
[From GoodReads]:
Angus is black and white and strong.

Sadie is reddish brown and white and small.

“They don’t look much alike,” says Missus.

“They don’t act much alike,” says Mister.

Angus and Sadie are brother and sister. Angus is bigger. He is a good, brave, and clever dog — and he likes that. Sadie isn’t as quick to learn — or to obey. When cats jump at her, she yelps and runs away. Angus thinks that means she’s scared of everything. But Sadie isn’t so sure that’s true.

Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt’s story of border collie puppies growing up on a farm in Maine is for animal lovers of all ages, and for anyone who’s ever had — or wondered what it would be like to have — a brother or sister just like themselves, but very, very different.

My Take: I have a special place in my heart for Border Collies as they’re very intelligent, energetic, and warm-hearted dogs. Naturally, when I spied this book in my GoodReads Recommendations, I decided to check it out as it was an inexpensive Kindle book.

This is a simple story about two humans, known as Mister and Missues, who adopt two Border Collie pups and take them home to their farm. However, this story is told from the dogs’ point of view, which, for me, made it more interesting than if it had been told using a more detached third person voice. In the same way, I enjoyed the contrasting personalities of the two dogs, Angus and Sadie, who are siblings. Angus is a quick study and eager to please, but Sadie is a slow learner and generally disinterested. Her stubbornness eventually becomes a stumbling block for her and we see, through her eyes, how she can’t understand why her refusal to learn makes her family frustrated at her – Angus included.

Through the story, Angus and Sadie have adventures and befriend the animals on the farm. But as they age, they begin to see their respective personality differences, so the underlying tension in the story becomes two-fold: 1). will Sadie ever learn what’s required of her and 2). can Sadie and Angus ever truly get along. Obviously, as a children’s story the situations and dilemmas here aren’t desperate or stark and, in the end, this is a happy story.

There are also little chapter and heading illustrations that are simply adorable. Below are cropped samples taken from my Kindle copy (but no worries – there are no spoilers!):
Angus and Sadie pic 1

Angus and Sadie pic 2

While I’m definitely not the targeted audience for this book, I can say that I enjoyed it and appreciated it for its canine-focused narrative. In the end, this is a cute little story and I would be curious to read any subsequent novels to see what Angus and Sadie get into next.

Content: This is a G-rated children’s tale with no profanity, violence, or sexual content. It’s worth noting though that there are some scenes of mild peril when animals are left on their own but no animals ever come to harm or fall into any real danger. Similarly, this is not one of those books where a beloved pet dies at the end. So for parents or guardians concerned about animal deaths, rest assured: Angus and Sadie live to see the last page!

The Run-Down:
Aw So Cute sweet
Overall, Angus and Sadie is a cute story that will certainly appeal to older children who love dogs. (I shelved this on GoodReads as a middle grade read but that’s not entirely correct. This is a better fit for the 6 to 10 years old crowd albeit there is nothing that would turn off anyone older.) The choice to tell this story from the dogs’ points of view was a smart and creative decision and there are enough canine adventures – and cheeky misadventures – to keep readers of any age entertained.

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