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Children's Literature with Dr. Vardell

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Book CoverHere is my review of a book on tape...

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. 1992. SHILOH. Performed by Peter MacNicol. N.Y.: Bantam Audio Publishing. ISBN: 0-553-47116-3.

 

Shiloh is a contemporary fiction story about a boy who loves a dog owned by a mean and hateful man named Judd. The setting is rural West Virginia. When the eleven-year-old protagonist of the story, Marty, finds the mistreated beagle he decides to keep him and hide him away in a pen on his parents property. The boy experiences a confused jumble of feelings and emotions, effortlessly expressed in this story. He has feelings of protective love and loyalty to the dog on the one side. And on the other side he wrestles with feelings of guilt for keeping someone elses property, lying to his parents and excluding his best friend from his secret.

 

The story comes to a climax when the dog, Shiloh, is viciously attacked by a neighboring dog and needs medical attention from the veterinarian. Shiloh survives but with the secret out in the open the dog must be returned to the rightful, abusive owner. Marty is so bonded with the dog that he is willing to work for mean Judd in trade for the dog. Judd makes Marty work hard and is unfair to him before his heart softens just a bit to see how much Marty is willing to suffer to gain ownership of the dog.

 

This animal story tries to answer the big question Is it okay to lie if it is for a noble cause?

 

This Newbery-award winning book on tape is easy to listen to. Peter MacNicol's soothing voice and dialect is well suited to the age of Marty and the area of the U.S. that the story is set in.

 

I listened to this book on tape while on a car trip with my three children. It held all of our attention and helped to pass the time in a meaningful way.

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