Home is where your dog is
Updated: Aug 15
Digger and Me by Ros Roberts, Stripes (Little Tiger)
James has been through a lot of changes. His parents split up, his dad moved out of the family home, and his favourite uncle died of cancer. Now, both of his parents have new live-in partners, while James struggles to find a sense of belonging anywhere, except with Digger, his dog. Digger is James' best friend and the only constant presence since his life has been in a state of flux. When James discovers a lump on Digger's leg, it looks like more changes are coming, as even Digger might not be there for him anymore.
Fortunately, a new teacher called Mr Froggatt makes James' circumstances a bit more bearable. Mr Froggatt assigns creative writing exercises to help himself and the class grow better acquainted. The assignments also help Mr Froggat's students to get to know themselves better. James finds solace in putting words on paper; his writing helps him to make sense of his feelings and of the world around him too.
This is an extremely tender story that is alternately heart-breaking and hilarious. James is a brilliant protagonist with whom readers will easily empathise, especially where his frustrations with his parents' new partners are concerned. James is coping with a lot, but his experiences and problems are quite common, and ones to which many children will relate. Narrated in the first person by James, Ros Roberts has given him such an authentic voice that it's hard to believe he's not a real person. Thanks to Digger and the outlet his writing provides, James manages to adjust even when the people he trusts the most let him down. Digger is another wonderful character and, even though he doesn't say anything, his personality bounces off every page. It's so easy to imagine Digger wagging his tail with affection and enthusiasm, and his relationship with James is lovely. Digger and Me is a moving story about friendship, loyalty and coping with change, that will resonate with young readers everywhere.
About the author:
Ros Roberts grew up when phones were attached to the wall by wiggly wires and music was taped on to cassettes. Amazing teachers encouraged her love of writing, setting her daily challenges to create poems to read to the class. She became a teacher herself; in her own classroom, free writing was a daily necessity and she felt privileged to watch the children’s progress when words flowed without boundaries. Ros loves the rain, eating brunch, tennis and TV. She loves dogs too – Texi, their beautiful Bernese mountain dog, inspired her debut book Digger and Me. Ros and her family have enjoyed living abroad in Vancouver, B.C. and Austin, Texas, but she is very happy and proud to be back living with her husband and three sons in the north of England, where her roots lie.
A huge thank you to the publisher for the advance reader copy I received via NetGalley - all opinions expressed are my own.