Newbery Medalist MacLachlan creates a spare, moving tale told from the perspective of Teddy, the dog of the title. Teddy can speak, but only poets and children can understand him, so Teddy isn’t surprised when both Nicholas (Nickel) and his younger sister, Flora, ask him for help when they get lost in a snowstorm. Since the death of his owner and friend, Sylvan, Teddy has relied on Sylvan’s student, Ellie, for care. But Ellie and Teddy know that the arrangement isn’t forever, and Teddy needs to find a way to move on and love again.
Using simple words that even youngest readers will understand and enjoy, MacLachlan tackles subjects such as death and mourning with understated grace (“And he closes his eyes, his hands still on my neck. By the time Ellie gets there he is still. Silence”). Overarching themes of love and family permeate the narrative, providing readers of all ages with a deep understanding of the relationship Teddy had with his previous owner and the one he is building with his new family. Ages 6–10.