Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Oct. 2019. 224p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780375842641.
Gr 5 Up–Danny Mack lives on a ranch in Oregon with his father and brother and spends his spare time practicing his considerable rodeo skills. His dog, Banjo, is his faithful, loving companion—until one night when Banjo is wounded by a gunshot. The neighbors claim he was trying to attack their sheep with some wild dogs and Danny’s father agrees that Banjo must be put down. Danny knows gentle Banjo wouldn’t have attacked the livestock, but has no way to prove it. Instead, he and his older brother Tyrell take matters into their own hands and try to scare Banjo into running off. Days later and a few towns away, animal-lover and horse whisperer Meg Harris finds Banjo injured in the woods and takes him home. She’s furious that someone could have abandoned an injured dog and is determined to find the owner to give them a piece of her mind.
VERDICT This slim, fast-paced novel will be perfect for reluctant readers who love animals, especially horses and dogs. The engaging plot addresses animal welfare issues, but also the importance of reserving judgment until one knows all the facts. The two main characters are entering 7th grade; this book will appeal to kids grades 3 and up.

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