This book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.
Hotel for Dogs is a heartwarming novel portraying a girl and her selfless devotion for saving helpless dogs. It displays how this commitment withstands even through separation from her beloved dog, and in turn inspires the other main characters to aid in protecting other helpless dogs. Written by Lois Duncan, author of several books for kids, this novel is a lively tale packed with action, sorrow, determination, and kindness.
Hotel for Dogs is a phenomenal novel that had me captivated from the beginning to the end. Author Lois Duncan truly captures the themes of uncertainty, determination, kindness, and dedication through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl. Lois Duncan weaves the character’s personalities such that one feels as if they have known that person their entire life. Overall, I found it to be a very motivating tale.
When ten-year-old Andrea (Andi) Walker is forced to leave her dog, Bebe, due to her father’s recent job placement, she is heartbroken. Not only does she succumb to losing her beloved pet, she has to deal with starting a new life in this small New Jersey town. One day, when she is upset about being unable to help a stray dog, she later finds herself convincing her older brother, Bruce, to help her find shelter for that dog, who surprises them with a litter of three puppies. Bruce, keeping true to his word, soon finds shelter in an overgrown, shabby house down the street, “The whole backyard was overgrown with knee-high grass and brambles and vines gone wild from neglect” (44).
However, these kids are faced with the constant threat of keeping their secluded “dog hotel” a secret. They also must deal with Jerry Gordon, an unpleasant neighbor who is a constant threat. With help of their new-found friends Debbie and Tim, they somehow manage to provide shelter to these and other helpless dogs, and are able to get even with Jerry. The next hurdle is keeping their parents from finding out about their mini-hotel. This is nearly impossible especially after they decide to purchase that house, “Oh, Mom, no- we don’t want that house” (159). In order to find out how they ease out of this sticky situation, I strongly encourage reading the book!
I would strongly recommend this novel to readers of all ages. I would definitely rate it a five out of five. Personally, I feel that the author was able to successfully portray the characters through her vivid descriptions, and was able to effectively grasp the reader’s attention. It was a light, cheerful, and happy book. Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this story.
-Tarika G., 7th grade