The ghost dog ISBN: 9780440863410
Johnson, Pete
Published by Corgi Yearling, 1996

Ten year old Daniel learns he must share his room with Aaron, the big-headed son of his mum's boyfriend, while the boyfriend goes off to American to a new job. Daniel is incensed, as are his best friends, Laura and Harry. They hatch up a plan to scare Aaron by telling him a ghost story about a horrible dog. The story works so well that all three friends have vivid nightmares about the dog, and when they discover Aaron is sharing their nightmares, it is up to Daniel to get rid of the dog and the dreams. This he does by confronting the dream dog and discovering it to be a suffering, mal- treated beast, who wants food and rest and a friend. Daniel, who has always wanted a dog, befriends Billy in his dreams and thus removes the nightmares from his chums, including Aaron. The story is excellent on the children's fears and the relationship between Daniel's mum and Aaron's dad, which ultimately fails, is handled with subtlety. Aaron is whisked off to America by his erratic and pushy dad, and both he and Daniel are saddened by their separation. There is a quasi- supernatural quality to the story, which enhances the unusual nature of it.
Age: 9+