Title: Lassie Come-Home
Author: Eric Knight
Major Themes: Animals, Dogs, England, Scotland
Synopsis: When she is taken away from her family, a collie does all in her power to return the 400 miles between her and home.
What boy can resist a good dog story? Add in an element of survival in the wilderness, and the tale is sure to be a favorite. Lassie Come-Home is just such a book.
Lassie, the beautiful tricolor collie, had been part of Joe Carraclough’s life since he could remember. She met him every day after school and walked home with him—but one day she was not there. What could have happened? When he arrived home from school, his parents were glum. Something was wrong!
When Lassie’s new owner took her from her home in Yorkshire to his estate in Scotland, the dog was very unhappy. One day, just at the time she always went to meet Joe at school, she managed to get free, and took off towards the south—and home. Could she possibly travel 400 miles through mountains, across wide, deep lakes and rushing rivers, and over desolate, snowy moors, to reach her family? How could she find food, and escape people who chase stray dogs?
My boys really enjoyed this book. Lassie’s adventures are amazing, as she single-mindedly made her way towards her people. All the way, we wondered if she would accomplish her goal, or if something would happen to end her journey—and whether the man who had bought her would reclaim her at the end. The actual ending is startling and amazing.
One thing I enjoyed about reading Lassie Come-Home aloud was trying to imitate the Scottish and Yorkshire accents. I’m sure I butchered them terribly, but having the words spelled the way those people talk makes the story feel more real.
WARNING: In chapter 16, someone uses “bloomin’” as an extra word a couple of times. It is also used once in chapter 20, and there is also a fight in that chapter, as two thugs attack a pedlar. In chapter 21, a man says “damme” twice and “by gad” once.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15