12 yr old Kevin Pugh spends a lot of his time in the basement, playing Madden Football and watching television. Kevin's dad, Howie used to play for the Bears. The Pugh's love in Chicago and the fans still love Howie. Kevin's younger sister Izzy is a soccer star, be he' s no athlete.
At an annual charity kickball game between two news station, Kevin is hit in the head twice.
Izzy was idly juggling a balled up sock. "It's just too bad you didn't stay in Kevin. We totally coulda won." "I was wounded," said Kevin. "Had to come out" Izzy threw her sock ball at Kevin, who lunged out of the way. "Where were those reflexes earlier, Kev?" Howie asked. "Not funny," snapped Kevin, adjusting his bag of ice. "I could have been killed today. Or braindamaged. I could be in a vegetative state right now because of a kickball." Howie rolled his eyes. "That was pretty impressive actually getting hit in the face twice by the same kick. Is there somebody at Guiness Book we could call? "
Kevin's dog Cromwell used to lay around all day doing nothing until he an sees* an agility dog competition on Animal Planet. Out of shape Cromwell wants to be an agility dog. Kevin doesn't know want to make of the change is once inactive dog. With some financial help from his best friend Zach, Kevin and Cromwell enroll in agility classes. Elka the trainer has a special way with dogs. Kevin is convinced Elka speaks dog. Elka takes a special liking to Kevin and Cromwell.
I loved The Fast and the Furriest. Behren's writing and characters are great. I laughed out loud a lot. I read the last scene over several times, and belly laughed each time. This book has much more to offer then laughs. Kevin has finally committed to something and grows more confident. For much of the summer Kevin keeps his where abouts a secret, knowing his football star father won't approve. When the truth is comes out Howie, isn't too happy at first but with the help of wife and daughter, he comes around.
I am so glad I stumbled upon this book. I know I didn't do it justice so please check out the excerpt . Ages 11up. Very reluctant reader friendly.
Another great 2010 middle grade book that features a boy and his dog is How I, Nicky Flynn Finally Get a Life (and a dog) by Art Corriveau
*Cromwell is not like that dog from the Art of Racing in the Rain. He doesn't normally watch or respond to television. Kevin just happened to point out the agility competition. Cromwell doesn't speak (except bark)