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Review: Paws by Kate Foster

April 18, 2021

About the book:

At home, Alex’s best friend is Kevin the cockapoo, although what he wants most of all is a friend at school. But that is harder than he ever expected. A touching story about learning that friendship isn’t one size fits all and is often found where you least expect it.

Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park . . . right?

My thoughts:

This book brings all the Feels. A gorgeous story that left me with happy tears. Alex is an eleven year old boy who desperately wants a friend. Because having a friend will make the transition to high school more bearable. Alex has many talents. He can draw, he can play video games, he can run, and his best friend is Kevin – his cockapoo dog. But high school is scary. It will be okay if he has a friend by his side. So Alex makes a plan. A best friend plan. He will win a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show and then the kids at school will want to be his friend.

Alex has a lot going on, yet his focus on his plan is absolute. But friends might be where you don’t think to look. And Kevin will be by his side no matter what.

This is a brilliant book by Australian author Kate Foster. And if you like dogs, then it is a must read. Even if you only like cats – give it a go. Great descriptions, with a great emotional payoff. Kate puts us deeply into Alex’s head. Seeing the world through Alex’s eyes is sometimes overwhelming, full of rules and lessons and adapting to unexpected change made all the more difficult when you have trouble understanding emotions, facial cues and the words that are not given voice from those around you. A terrific read that I recommend to all parents to read with their kids or to have their kids read to them. It’s good for schools and teachers and families and friends. But even if you don’t have kids or a dog, this is a feelgood story and will keep you reading until you reach the end, wishing for more.


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