fiction favorites…Lulu and the Dog from the Sea

Lulu-and-the-Dog-from-the-Sea cover imageLulu and the Dog from the Sea, by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

“That dog!” said the cottage owner, rushing out of the cottage with Lulu’s parents behind her…”That dog from the sea! He’s a thief! He’s a menace! The people last week lost a whole roasted chicken from under their noses! Nothing is safe from him and no one can get near him. We’ve had the dogcatcher out twice already and he’s never gotten close enough to grab–“
“Oh, poor dog!” exclaimed Lulu.
“Don’t you go encouraging him,” said the woman, turning on Lulu quite fiercely. “He’s not welcome around here!”

Lulu and her parents, along with her cousin Mellie, plus Sam the dog, have gone to lulu and the dog from the sea illustration priscilla lamontthe beach for a week of vacation. The cottage they’ve rented at the end of a bumpety, jouncing road comes with a cranky owner plus another dog! — a stray dog who loves to raid the trash. Keep away from him, the owner warns them. That dog from the sea is entirely no good.

Of course Lulu has a warm heart for all animals, and her first glimpse of those “ears like brown paper bags” flapping in the sea breeze peaks her curiosity. Where does this dog come from? Where does he live? Is he scared? Hungry? It’s not long before Lulu has launched a full-on program to make friends with this lonely, scraggly fellow. She thinks bringing him home is a good plan. Her parents do not.

The week is filled with sun and sand, kite-making for Mellie and book-reading for Mom, preventing the trash from being ransacked (Dad) and sneaking tidbits to the dog from the sea (Lulu). Yet as the end of vacation looms, the dog’s fate and Lulu’s happiness are still up in the air. Then, in one surprising flurry, that mangy dog from the sea turns into a hero! WOOFF!

lulu and the dog from the sea illustration2 priscilla lamontFull of humor, radiating the warmth of family, heaped with doggy affection, and topped off with just the right zing of tension, this second of the Lulu books is a thorough charmer. If you’re a dog-lover, it’s irresistable.

Excellent read aloud for youngish listeners, or — at just 100 short pages — an early chapter book for sturdy new readers. Generously sprinkled with amiable illustrations by Priscilla Lamont.  This book simply makes me happy!

For more on this series, you can read my review of Lulu and the Duck in the Park here.