Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dixie Of Dover: A Boy And Dog Story (1958)

Dixie Of Dover: A Boy And Dog Story

Jean Poindexter Colby, il. Mary Stevens

1958, Little, Brown and Company

Fists began to fly when suddenly a small furry object hurtled into the fray. It was Dixie, growling and snarling, bristling and biting.

Ten-year-old Gersholm Converse Montgomery III (aka Gerry) gets the little Welsh Terrier pup Dixie as a gift from Lt. John Reed, who is forever grateful to Gerry's dad, Captain Converse Montgomery, for saving his life in WWII. The captain is dying of a blood infection picked up in the Pacific, and when he dies, the scrappy little dog helps everyone adjust to a new life in the city. He accompanies Gerry on a paper route to help with the family finances, and pitches in when Gerry tangles with tough new neighbor Bill O'Brien.

Almost English, with the genteel family moving from a rural estate in Dover and private schools to an old-fashioned house owned by their grandmother in a dodgy neighborhood in Brookline and public schools. And the following scene of an obnoxious child is almost too Brit to bear:

...a boy who pranced up to Gerry and said, "I'm going to have your room and I'm going to mark up that fancy wallpaper, and bust up your birdfeeder, and grind a hole in that workbench."

But there's an air of realism in the book - the family is never said to be poor, simply not as well off as previously. In short, they had to let the maid go and sell the 15-acre gentleman's farm, but they still have a big city house (albeit in a less nice area) and a maid.

Who is Irish. And big and bossy. It was inevitable she'd be either Irish or Negro (to use the term which would have been used here, likely). The mild-mannered WASPy family fits in fairly well with their new neighbors, whose multiculti 1950's style features the friendly Italian family the Delasapios, and the surly, touchy Irish kid Bill. And there's some other fun fifties stuff.

"What's a pizza?" asked Gerry.

Although Bill probably saves Gerry's life by advising him to NOT wear capri pants to public school (ok, I know they weren't capris, but - they looked it.) but remains wary of Dixie and unfriendly except to Mrs. Montgomery, who keeps encountering him in her new job at the local library. There's an odd sort of twist at the end, but until that point it's quite satisfying.


Dixie - male Welsh Terrier

Duzzy - male spaniel mix puppy

Other books




Peter Paints The USA

Jim The Cat

The Elegant Eleanor


Plimoth Plantation Then And Now

Tearing Down To Build Up

Writing, Illustrating And Editing Children's Books

Mystic Seaport: The Age Of Sail

The New Wellesley

The Children's Book Field

Lexington And Concord, 1775

Jesus And The World

About the Author

Jean Poindexter founded Junior Reviewers, a monthly magazine which reviewed new children's books, and was an editor at Ariel Books.


The U. of Southern Mississippi, du Grummond collection

1 comment: