Trevor Tower knows how to settle in to a new school quickly and make friends. He has to — his parents are airplane pilots and they move every year. He finds that the best way to cope is not to get too involved with anyone. But when Trevor (who is very short) is paired with Loyola (who is very tall) for their community service assignment, all his careful detachment starts to crumble. Both of them have been avoiding each other, secretly worried that if they’re seen side-by-side, they will be teased even more by their classmates about their size. Walking six dogs to the park every week to help out some shut-in senior citizens brings them together, and soon they are embroiled in the mystery of a missing spotted dog who may or may not exist.
This is a sweet, slow-moving book that pulls the reader right inside Trevor’s 12-year-old psyche as he observes the world around him and tries to find his place in it by helping someone in trouble. Kerrin understands exactly how this pre-teen boy’s mind works: we follow along as he agonizes over the drawbacks of dropping his defences and we smile as one by one, they fall. Her quirky characters leave a vivid impression: the wacky dogs, the fragile seniors, Trevor’s hungry lunch mates and smart, insecure Loyola are all so funny and vulnerable, that as Trevor opens his heart to them, so does the reader.
Funny, absorbing and touching, The Missing Dog is Spotted resonates with the riches to be found in unexpected friendships and the importance of connection, however transient it may be.
The Missing Dog Is Spotted
By Jessica Scott Kerrin
$14.95, paperback, 208 pp.
Groundwood, March 2015