What You Need to Know:|
• Sable is the perfect classic girl and dog story for the younger reader.
• Even though the book is brief, it delivers an emotional and powerful story.
• The characters are exceptionally well-drawn for an early chapter book.
• This would also be a terrific selection for a struggling older reader because the story is so meaningful.
• Karen Hesse, the author, has penned numerous other books for children, including the Newbery Award-winning
Out Of The Dust.
Sable is the story of a young girl who yearns for a dog. No doubt this subject will resonate with many young readers. What distinguishes Sable, from your run-of the-mill dog story, is the author’s writing style. She enables the reader to experience the character’s emotions. The setting is unclear, but since it is definitely not set in our modern day, it provides young readers with another perspective of time and place.
Ten-year-old Tate is an only child who lives with her Mam and Pap in Vermont. She has wanted a dog most of her life, but her mother has resisted. Mam was attacked by a dog at a young age and still has a large scar on her leg as a reminder. One day, while Mam and Tate were getting ready for dinner, a dog appeared on their porch. The dog was skinny, tired and hungry and appeared to have wandered down from the mountain. Against her better judgment, Mam allows Pap and Tate to feed the dog and name her Sable. Sable quickly becomes part of their lives.
Tate takes great care of Sable, but the dog was clearly born to be a wanderer. While Tate is at school, Sable gets into all sorts of trouble. Finally, unable to manage Sable, Mam and Pap give her away in spite of Tate's protests. Tate is heartbroken, but she is determined to get her dog back. Tate takes on more responsibility around the homestead and works patiently at building a fence to contain Sable when she returns. At last, Tate is ready, and she goes to retrieve Sable from her new owner only to find out that Sable has wandered off and hasn't been seen in months. Luckily, Sable eventually turns up on the porch again. She is more bedraggled than ever, but this time, Mam, Pap and Tate are ready to take her in properly.
The hopefulness at the end of the story is heartwarming and uplifting. Young readers will be taken on an emotional arc, rare in early chapter books. The pencil drawings, one per chapter, are a perfect accompaniment to this engaging story.
2010, 96 pages
Determination, Excellent Read-Aloud, Animals - Dogs, Family Life, Girl Power
• Do you have a dog? If not, do you want a dog?
• In what time period do you think this story is set?
• Do you think it is present day? Why or why not?
• Do you think Tate and Sable were destined to be together? Why or why not?
• Do you think Tate "grows up" during this story? Why or why not?
• What do you imagine happens now for Tate's family?
• If you could write a sequel to Sable, what would happen in it?
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