Reviews for Dog Called Homeless

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
*Starred Review* A year after her mother's death, fifth-grader Cally Fisher has started seeing her mom everywhere, though her family thinks she is imagining things. Meanwhile, she keeps getting in trouble at school, her best friend has dumped her, and her home life has been tough. Her once-lively father is distracted and withdrawn, and Luke, her brother, spends his time perpetually playing video games. But when Cally signs up for a sponsored silence school charity fund-raiser, she discovers not speaking has its challenges but its rewards as well, and she decides to continue her silence after the event is over. Life takes another turn when her family has to move for financial reasons, and she meets neighbor boy Sam, who is blind and mostly deaf; Jed, a kindly homeless man; and a large silver-gray dog that she often sees with both Jed and her mother. Progressively, her experiences with each transform her life--and the lives of others--in unexpected ways. This beautifully written, compelling debut offers an insightful portrayal of grief and healing. Cally is a deeply drawn protagonist whose first-person account eloquently relays poignant and powerfully affecting moments. Vivid supporting characters add depth, especially spirited, sensitive Sam, who not only embodies the meaning of friendship and family but also reinforces the value of connection, communication, and compassion in bringing hearts and lives together. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Cally's fifth grade classroom enrolls in a hospice-benefiting "sponsored silence"--and she keeps the silence. New neighbor Sam, blind and mostly deaf, and a dog named Homeless that appears with her dead mother's ghost help Cally say what she needs to, with or without words. Lean's rewarding first novel stands out for its clean, evocative prose and genuine characters.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #5
No one will talk about Cally's dead mother, but Cally is the sort of person who likes to discuss what she's feeling. When she sees her mother's ghost and tries to share the happiness that encounter gives her, it only makes her father upset. When her fifth grade classroom enrolls in a "sponsored silence" to benefit a hospice, she volunteers to be silent for a day. The silence, surprisingly, suits her, and she keeps it for days that turn into weeks, even as her family moves to a new apartment. There she makes a friend in her downstairs neighbor Sam, who is blind and mostly deaf, and together they start to watch over a dog who appears with Cally's mother's ghost, and whom they name Homeless. Between them, Sam and Homeless help Cally say what she needs to, with or without words, so that she and her family can finally share memories of her mother. Lean's first novel stands out for its clean and evocative prose. Despite the often heavy-handed messages, her characters and narrative are genuine and engaging. Readers drawn to stories of adversity will find this one rewarding, and all readers should look forward to Lean's next novel. nina lindsay

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
In this British import, a girl grieving for her dead mother gives up talking when she becomes convinced that what she says doesn't matter. Cally's father never mentions her mom, which seems to deny her existence. Then Cally begins to see her mother--a ghost or wishful imagining?--dressed in a red raincoat and sometimes accompanied by a very large dog that's assuredly not a ghost since he turns up independently at school, in the park and especially with a homeless man, Jed. Cally also meets Mrs. Cooper, a neighbor in their new apartment building who lovingly cares for her blind, nearly deaf 11-year-old son, Sam. Mrs. Cooper, Sam and a psychiatrist all reach out to Cally, each offering wise support, but it's Cally herself, perhaps with the quiet help of her mom, who finds a believable--if a bit miraculous--and highly satisfying resolution. Fifth-grader Cally's first-person voice effectively captures both her suffering and her bewilderment as friends and her father all fail to understand her pain. When she tells Sam she sometimes thinks her mother became a star after she died, he astutely asks, "Why would she go so far away?" giving Cally a comforting new way to think of her mother, much closer to her heart. Ever so gently, this fine debut effort explores the power of human kindness as Cally and her father find effective ways to cope with their loss. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

Gr 4-7--Cally Fisher hasn't spoken for 31 days. As she explains in the prologue, "Talking doesn't always make things happen, however much you want it to." She knows that talking won't bring her mother back to life or keep her dad from selling their home in exchange for a small apartment so what's the point in saying anything. But when her mother appears one day wearing a bright red raincoat and the only other soul that sees her is a big scraggly dog, the girl knows she must find a way to convince her father that the dog is the only thing connecting them to her mother. But her father's growing depression continues to separate the family and Cally struggles to keep her mother from becoming a distant memory. When she meets Sam, who lives downstairs, the friendship that forms between the blind boy and silent girl manages to reunite a family, and each character benefits from the bond. Truly a lesson in the power of love and loss, this story shows that learning how to listen is more important than what's being said. This is a thought-provoking story that will speak to readers of all ages.--Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH

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