Like many of the books by Newbery-winning author Patricia MacLachlan, White Fur Flying is a simple tale, but with hidden depth. In a few short chapters, the young narrator Zoe will tell us all we need to know about her family and their mysterious new neighbors, and bring us happily to the book’s satisfying conclusion.
Zoe Cassidy’s younger sister Alice likes to write stories, but, according to Alice, it is Zoe who knows those stories. When the new neighbors include a boy who doesn’t speak, Zoe can see right away that fear and sadness are the cause of his silence. She is also the first one to notice that her family’s rescued Great Pyrenees dogs make the new boy, Phillip, feel safe and comfortable.
It is no surprise that the rescued dogs end up rescuing Phillip, but MacLachlan tells the story in such a sweet and funny way that we don’t really mind the fact that we can see the ending coming from a long way away. Many younger, inexperienced readers won’t see it coming and will simply be excited and touched when Phillip finds his voice.
A master storyteller like MacLachlan can make a lot happen in a short amount of time without making the action seem rushed or forced. Young elementary students who have already read Sarah, Plain and Tall and Waiting for the Magic will be eager to read her latest book—and they will not be disappointed by this gentle, uplifting story.