Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 04/01/2015 Gr 4–7—Lester, 11, has just moved to Cape Cod from Denver where he meets George. Both boys are accompanied by their beloved dogs, Bill Gates and Bart, respectively. For an assignment, the boys conduct experiments to establish if they and their dogs exhibit telepathic links. The narrative alternates between Lester and George's points of view and is supplemented by email communications between George and the real-life biologist Rupert Sheldrake. The emails often feel like information dumps and, while certainly interesting, the correspondence isn't always believable. The friendship that blossoms between Lester and George is refreshingly natural and organic. However, too many "big life questions" weigh down the narrative. For example, the way in which one of the characters experiences and processes loss and grief feels rushed and artificial. Readers never get to know the dogs and as "boys' best friends," the relationships feel hollow. The real value here is in the book's demonstration of the scientific method. Not only are key definitions worked into the narrative, but the two boys examine bias, honesty, and statistical significance. The potential to use this fictional title to explore scientific theory is strong and quite interesting. Classrooms could take this even further by using the boys' research logs (provided in the back of the book) to analyze the data and create their own experiments. VERDICT While not a first purchase for most libraries, it is potentially a valuable tool in classroom settings and for libraries looking to add to their Common Core collections.—Taylor Worley, Springfield Public Library, OR - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 07/01/2015 In this novel inspired by Sheldrake’s adult nonfiction title, Dogs That Know Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999), two boys find friendship through a science experiment. George has noticed that his dog, Bart, always seems to be waiting for him when he gets home from school. Lester, a new boy in his class, has noticed the same about his dog, Bill Gates. Their teacher suggests that they work together on the class assignment on animal behavior, and they begin keeping logs of their observations, based on the work of behaviorist and coauthor Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. Doing the experiment helps both boys overcome their feelings of loneliness: George is missing his best friend, Kyra, who moved away, and Lester missed his old life and friends in Denver. Additionally, both boys also come to realize that change is inevitable and can even be rewarding. Recommend to young dog owners who might like to re-create the boys’ experiment or as a kid-friendly introduction to Sheldrake’s work. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

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