Moondust by Neil Wilson

Moondust by Neil Wilson
Moondust by Neil Wilson
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical
Length: Short Story (143 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Ed Frost is testing his brand new telescope on the nearby hills when he spots a shadowy figure. Unusually, the stranger stops walking, leaves something behind and returns the way he came. Ed and his best friend Bertie investigate. They struggle but finally find an old sack. Inside are two terrified Welsh terrier pups, left for dead. Ed names one Moondust and the other Meteor. Moondust soon becomes a much loved member of the family, while Meteor’s life hangs in the balance.

By chance, Ed spots an advert for puppies in the local newspaper. He phones the number on the advert, pretending to be interested in buying a pup. The pups are being sold at a local farm. Ed and Bertie go to the farm on a spying mission. On the way they meet an old foe. He has been upset by his older brother who is renting the farm and selling the puppies in a heartless money-making business. The boys make an unexpected friendship and when they arrive to spy at the farm they are disgusted by what they see – bedraggled underfed pups, kept in dirty and cramped conditions – a cruel death camp for dogs.

A courageous and daring race for life begins. Can they rescue the pups and bring the sinister operator to justice?

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever want to hurt an innocent animal.

Ed was such an interesting main character. My first impression of him was of a reserved boy who had a lot of thought-provoking ideas running through his mind that he didn’t always necessarily share with other people. This turned out to be a pretty accurate sketch of his personality. It was nice to learn so much about who he was as an individual right away.

There were some pacing issues in the beginning of this story. The narrator spent a lot of time introducing the main character and his community before moving on to the events that were described in the blurb. While I enjoyed getting to know Ed, having such a slowly-paced plot was distracting. I would have liked to see how he reacted to the abandoned pets much sooner. This scene was the key to everything that happened afterwards, so it felt odd to put it off for so long.

The puppies were definitely the stars of the show. It was especially fascinating to see how Moondust adjusted to life with Ed and his family. Moondust had a rough start in life, but that isn’t something that seemed to slow this puppy down at all. My favorite scenes explored how this dog reacted to an environment that was much more loving and kind than anything that had happened earlier.

Moondust is a heartwarming tale that I’d recommend to kids and kids at heart alike.

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