White Fur Flying

White Fur Flying

by Patricia MacLachlan


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A young boy tries to find his voice with the help of some four-legged friends in this “elegantly spare novel about the healing power of dogs and love” (Publishers Weekly), from the Newbery-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. There is always the sweet smell of dog and a warm body looking to cuddle or play. There is always a new dog to be saved, and loved. Fur flies everywhere. It covers everything. Zoe’s house is never silent.

The house across the street is always silent these days. A new family has moved in and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try.

Saving dogs and saving boys may be different jobs, but Zoe learns that some parts are the same. Both take attention and care. They take understanding and time. And maybe just a bit of white fur flying.

From Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan, White Fur Flying is an endearing tale of companionship and hope that is “beautifully told, quietly moving, and completely satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews).

Editorial Reviews


"MacLachlan delivers yet another understated, quietly inspirational chapter book with this tale.... This is tailor-made for beginning readers looking for a gentle handling of powerfully felt emotions."

Publishers Weekly

MacLachlan crafts an elegantly spare novel about the healing power of dogs and love—much as she did in 2011’s Waiting for the Magic, though this story sticks to realism, forgoing the talking animals of that book. Narrator Zoe Cassidy and her 10-year-old younger sister, Alice (“the storyteller of the family”), enjoy a warm, animal-centric life with their parents: their father is a veterinarian, and their mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs. When an enigmatic and silent nine-year-old boy named Phillip moves in with a dour couple across the street, the family gradually defrosts the relationship with help from its houseful of dogs. Zoe’s joyful household contrasts starkly with Phillip’s quiet one, living with two relatives who are caring for him while his parents “solve a problem.” Kodi (a hulking Great Pyr) and a cheeky parrot named Lena are the first to encourage Phillip’s thaw. MacLachlan builds tension when Phillip and another dog, Jack, disappear during a storm. A graceful and quiet narrative with keen observations on how time and affection can remedy pain. Ages 7–up. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)


"MacLachlan delivers yet another understated, quietly inspirational chapter book with this tale.... This is tailor-made for beginning readers looking for a gentle handling of powerfully felt emotions."

School Library Journal

Gr 3–5—Life is never dull for Zoe and Alice. Their mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs until a new home can be found and their father is a veterinarian. Enormous dogs are always roaming their family's rural home and white fur is always flying everywhere. When the sisters meet their new neighbor, Phillip, they are left with many questions. Phillip has gone silent. What happened that would cause him to stop speaking? Does he believe that he is the cause of his parents' problems? MacLachlan shares with young audiences a touching story of compassion, trust, and patience. She weaves the themes of family and friendship throughout the narrative, peppering her well-paced plot with sufficient tension and avoiding an overdramatization of its climax. Like many of the author's best stories, this one is told simply and gently with touches of light humor. The clear prose, combined with the brevity of the narrative, make the book an ideal selection for young readers, reluctant readers, and animal lovers everywhere. Children will feel satisfied as they discover that both dogs and boys can be rescued, and many will be pleasantly surprised that they can also rescue one another.—Elly Schook, Jamieson Elementary School, Chicago

Kirkus Reviews

A rescued dog saves an unhappy, silent boy in this gentle story about families, fears and courage. As she did most recently in Waiting for the Magic (2011), Newbery Medalist MacLachlan shows the support that pets can provide. Zoe's mother fosters abandoned Great Pyrenees dogs. But when Jack, a new dog, runs away, 9-year-old Phillip, a new neighbor, runs after him. He gets lost, but the dog leads him to a barn where they shelter from a night of rain and hail. Phillip's parents are having problems; he's staying for a while with a childless aunt and uncle with little experience with children or dogs, and he won't talk to anyone. Zoe's family, on the other hand, is close, chatty and compassionate. They care for each other and for their rescued animals: not only the massively shedding white dogs, but also an African grey parrot whose favorite phrase is "You can't know." True. There is much you can't know about people and animals both, and much you don't know, still, after the story ends. Zoe recalls the experience in a narrative occasionally interrupted by ruminative, present-tense glimpses of Zoe with the dogs at night and summed up in her little sister Alice's concluding journal entry. The spare prose and extensive dialogue leaves room for the reader's imagination and sympathy. Beautifully told, quietly moving and completely satisfying. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442421721
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 209,510
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 11 Years

Customer Reviews