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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
He Whistles for the Cricket by Gwen Walker is the story of a little girl, Miriam, who always wanted to have a dog. Dogs and Miriam have always gotten along, but right now there is no way she can have one as her father’s medical bills did not allow them to indulge in luxuries. So when Queenie has puppies, Miriam makes sure that she always goes there and plays with them. One day when Miriam wakes up, she sees that the creek waters have risen. She runs to see the pups and finds Queenie whining over a pile of sodden puppy corpses.
The ten-year-old is heartbroken, but then she realizes that one pup is alive; the one she had kept on top of the pile of burlap bags. She knows now that the three of them - Queenie, Miriam, and the pup - are a circle and they need each other. Queenie also passes and now Miriam needs to save the pup and find someone to take care of him. Will she find a good home to leave the pup safely?
The story is poignant and heartwarming and Miriam's angst and pain are palpable to readers. Dog and animal lovers will be able to relate well to Miriam's feelings, and the characters in the story are real and relatable. There are many moving moments and it is a book that can be used for bedtime story-telling by parents and grandparents. The book is good for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries, and it is a great storybook for children.