Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Dickon wasn't happy in his old home or his old school. He hopes that in his new neighborhood he will meet children who never knew his old, hyper self, who will like him for who he is now. And he hopes for a dog of his own. Dickon's mother calls him Birdie. She feeds him milk from a teddy bear mug. She worries if he's out of her sight for a moment and she knows how filthy and vicious dogs can be. Dickon is delighted to discover that the Humane Society is right on the other side of the fence behind the new house, but only by disobeying his mother will he ever get close to a real dog.
About the author
Jean Little was born in Taiwan in 1932. Her parents were both doctors. Jean grew up in Ontario and graduated from the University of Toronto. She was born with a severe eye problem and is severely visually impaired. A special "talking" computer assists her with her writing. She has a retired seeing-eye dog named Ritz and a new one named Pippa, with whom she travels. The author focuses on her experiences from the time she was a child through young adulthood in her autobiography, Little by Little, and continues her story in Stars Come Out Within. The books, which will appeal to children 10 and older, are both humorous and poignant as Jean describes living with a disability and the ridicule she sometimes experienced as a result, as well as her love for the world of reading and books. Jean's books include From Anna, Listen for the Singing, Stand In The Wind, Mama's Going To Buy You a Mockingbird, Hey World, Here I Am!, Look through My Window, Emma's Yucky Brother, The Belonging Place, and Mine For Keeps. Listen for the Singing was the Canada Council Children's Literature Award winner in 1977. Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird was the CLA Book of the Year in 1985.
Jean Little's first book, Mine for Keeps, won the Little, Brown Children's Book Award in 1962 and was republished by Viking Penguin in 1995. It tells the story of Sally Copeland, a 10 year old with cerebral palsy, and her adjustment to being home after spending several years in a special school. You'll find that several of the themes in this book appear in a number of the author's other books: dealing with a handicap and the responses of others, fitting in, and adjusting to new situations and surroundings.
- Short-listed, Red Cedar nominee
- Short-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children nominee
- Commended, CCBC Our Choice
- Commended, Canadian Toy Testing Council Great Books
- Short-listed, ASPCA Henry Bergh Award nominee
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
Excerpt: Birdie for Now (by (author) Jean Little)
One minute she was not there and the next she had dashed in among them, her dangling leash sailing through the air after her. Her silky coat rippled in the breeze and she had incredible ears, black and tall, shaped like butterfly wings. Her feathery tail curled up over her back one minute, streamed out behind her the next and, a second later, tucked itself out of sight between her legs.
To Dickon, that tail shouted, "I want to be friends … I'm running away … I'm afraid."
He understood the little dog completely. He, too, had felt confused and desperate.
"In no time the reader is launched into a wonderful story of the hero-s yearning for a dog."
St. Catharine's Standard
"This is an enjoyable book."
"A satisfying and heartwarming story."
School Library Journal
"Little certainly knows what interests kids and how to tell a satisfying story."
"The emphasis that this book puts on relationships and their development makes it an outstanding read."
"Fast-paced action and lively dialogue transport readers through conflict, challenge, suspense, and satisfactory resolution."
Quill & Quire
Other titles by Jean Little
A Long Way Home
Le long chemin
Harry's Hiccups Read-Along
Listen for the Singing
Dear Canada: Hoping for Home
Stories of Arrival
Once Upon a Golden Apple
25th Anniversary Edition
Pippin the Christmas Pig
Hand in Hand
Inspired by the real-life story of Helen Keller and Martha Washington
Dear Canada: Exiles from the War
The War Guest Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss, Guelph, Ontario, 1940