22nd February '16
This is a wonderful book. I loved it. It is told from the perspective of 12 year old Rose who has high functioning autism. The first person narrative draws you in from the start. Rose is a very likeable narrator; her straightforwardness and honesty are immensely appealing. Author Ann M Martin has expertly created Rose's character, giving her a distinct voice with which to tell her story.
It is the story of Rose and her dog, Rain. Rain is a gift to Rose from her father; he found her lost without a collar and brought her home. Rose's world is one of homophones, prime numbers and the importance of rules. She is ridiculed at school and her father is mainly either at work or at the local bar (there is no mother). Rain provides valuable companionship and stability. When Rain goes missing during a superstorm, Rose draws up a plan to find her. She is helped in her search by her Uncle Weldon, whose patience and understanding are in stark contrast to her father's irritability and denial.
I was utterly absorbed in Rose's world; her home and school life are depicted in detail and we get a clear insight into what it's like to live with autism, not just for Rose but also for her family, classmates and teachers. This touching story made me smile and, on more than one occasion, it made me cry. We watch Rose as she discovers friendship and learns what it means to be brave.
How to Look for a Lost Dog is a warm and honest portrayal of what it's like to live with autism. It holds its own alongside adult fiction with similar child protagonists, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, both of which are also brilliant. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Suitable for children aged 8+