Cover Image: A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale

A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale

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Member Reviews

This is a heartwarming tale of dog rescue and adoption. I enjoyed reading about Toby's life. The story touches your heart and teaches lessons.
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This is a sweet story about a dog's life. There are ups and downs in this books during this dog's life but the author did a great job telling the story. I really enjoyed it.
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It was really sweet and I like how it gave you the view of a trouble who had a rough time in his life and his thoughts about what happened to him.
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This is a heartwarming tale of dog rescue/adoption. I enjoyed reading about Toby's life.  Sadly, this tale plays out too many times every day, but without a happy ending.
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A Place To Call Home: Toby’s Tale is a middle-grade novel about animal welfare and adoption, focusing on an all-white German Shepherd-wolf hybrid puppy named Toby who was born on a farm. Toby’s Tale is a journey across the United States, where Toby experiences love, loss, and harm. As an animal lover, more than once I was brought to tears through the moving prose; I found myself impressed by how the story managed to convey serious issues despite being a children’s novel.

One aspect of the novel that struck me was how the author incorporated different prejudices the humans and the animals characters had. For example, one of these prejudices is in regards to wolves. I thought A Place to Call Home did an excellent job at dispelling myths about wolves. In fact, the novel focused more on how humans harm wolves than the other way around, portraying wolves as sympathetic characters. Near the beginning of the novel, Toby’s grandfather, a wolf, tells his partner: “Don’t you know what humans do to other animals? […] They kill and maim them for no reason… I know. They killed my mother.” Usually, media presents wolves as villains who are always eager to kill and eat other animals or humans. So choosing to portray humans as the bad guys, and not wolves, is actually the more realistic choice.

Another strength of the novel is how it promotes animal rescue and adoption. Toby was born on a farm, where his mother was used as a breeding dog. Toby’s grandmother had been a breeding dog, too, for the family. Readers will understand that being used as a breeder is emotionally devastating for the dogs: When Sadie, Toby’s grandma, experiences her litter being sold, it’s described in this way: “A heavy sorrow had laid itself upon her after her puppies were taken away one by one.” Further, the farmer, who is the one running the breeding operation, is portrayed as a villain character. He lacks compassion and empathy for animals and sees the dogs solely as a means to an end, which is money. When the dogs can’t bring him money, he sees them as expendable garbage. The book clearly presents this form of exploitation as immoral.

Instead of being told strictly from either a human or dog perspective, the novel cleverly blends the perspectives in a way that doesn’t bog down the pace or tension. We get to see the events unfold from different dogs, starting with Toby’s mother, and the humans, both adults and children, who cross path with Toby and his family. The author chose to present the dog perspective in italics font, which helps to ensure there’s no confusion.

I would recommend this book to families who have pets or who are thinking about getting a pet. Not only does the book promotes animal adoption, but the book also informs its young readers of what they may find at an animal shelter, which is that the animals there may have come from abusive backgrounds, and how to best care for a pet who may have experienced trauma. I think that A Place To Call Home would be an excellent opportunity for a parent to read alongside their child; although the book explores the issues in an age-appropriate manner, it does cover some heavy topics. These topics include animal abuse and alcoholism. I appreciate that the novel did not shy away from the reality of human violence on animals, and did not find those scenes graphic or inappropriate for children.
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A heartwarming and engaging tale told from different points of view, even a dog's!  The story touches your heart and teaches lessons.  A must-read if you are an animal lover!
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I found this animal book to be a wonderful story.  It was sad but I was happy that the ending was happy.
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A place to call home Toby's tale

Just a wonderful story about animals.  

Toby goes through so much in his short life.  Abandonment, bring separated from his mother, death of his sister, guilt that he couldn't save her.  Then he is abused by someone who should have protected him.   But finally Toby finds his special home.   

The book Is filled with sadness and prejudice but it also shows there are a great number of people who truly love animals and will do their best for them.   

I loved in the story that the animals can talk to each other.  When my dogs were puppies George used to scratch on the kitchen door to let me know that Gracie needed the bathroom.   I was constantly amazed how he knew.
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A good book for persons with a good heart and animal lovers.i would give it a 2.5 the cover could be changed to a more interesting one.
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Heart breaking and wonderful a the same time. I rescue cats. I have friends and family who rescue dogs and cats. We take in strays and do what we can to help out animal friends. It angers me how badly some humans treat our furry and feathered friends. This book was worth a read. Middle school up. Not for real young kids.
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