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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
On My Back Paws by Anna Skoyles is a fun and enjoyable story about a golden retriever called Seamus. He belongs to ex-witch Sophie, whose spells were always rubbish and who now works as an agent looking for actors. Seamus loves his owner and is only too willing for her to turn him into the ideal human actor for a special production. There is all sorts of hilarity, and the occasional calamity, as Seamus tackles life as a human (but still thinking as a dog). Seamus encounters adventure, new friends, an enemy and fame - but being a human takes a serious toll on his health. Can Imogen, Sophie's more caring sister, persuade her to turn him back into a dog again before it is too late?
The bond between dog and owner is such a special one and I think preteen age readers are going to enjoy this sweet, entertaining and funny tale. It develops an imaginative theme of what might happen if our pets could talk, understand, and even become human. Anna Skoyles writes in a readable and manageable style for young readers. The plot moves along at a good pace with plenty of intrigue and excitement as Seamus encounters all kinds of situations. The story reaches a positive ending as all good children's stories should. I love the way no one else quite discovers that he is really a dog as this gives the story an exciting secret feel to it. Seamus really does manage to pull it off. The characters in On My Back Paws are believable and developed nicely. Seamus himself is intriguing and likable as a human and, of course, adorable as a golden retriever. A fun fantasy about friendship and trust.