Angus and Sadie by Cynthia Voigt is a sweet story of Mister and Missus and their new dogs, Angus and Sadie.
Mister and Missus intended to get only one dog, but at the animal shelter they each found the perfect dog. Neither can imagine giving up a dog, so they go home with two.
The rest of the story is about the dogs and their struggles, fears and joys of growing up on a farm. Angus and Sadie are always together, but very different. Angus is very obedient and a bit of a kn0w-it-all. Sadie is sweet and curious, except when she’s afraid.
Voigt lets us into the dogs’ world by interpreting their barks for the readers, which makes for interesting dialogue between the two dogs – especially over new words. Sadie tells Angus that the white stuff on the ground that winter is called ‘snowing.’ She heard Missus say, “It’s snowing.” But later, they discover it’s called snow.
They said snow. Not snowing. You told me the wrong thing, said Angus, who cared about being right.
Now we know, answered Sadie, who didn’t.
Later that first winter comes a crisis in the dogs’ relationship. Sadie disobeys, but with great results, which makes Angus angry. And the more he thinks about it, the angrier he gets. Fortunately, Angus faces a similar situation.
Angus was really glad Said could understand how hard it had been to be in a trial. He guessed that sometimes it might be all right for her not to obey – but he didn’t think he could ever learn that. He didn’t think he wanted to learn that, either. It was like the way Sadie couldn’t learn to fetch, he realized. Then he realized something else. We’re not the same! he said. We’re different!
I know, [replied Sadie].
With that lesson, Angus and Sadie are friends again and enjoy life together on the farm.
Not only is this an enjoyable book to read, but the differences between the dogs can help parents illustrate the differences between siblings. It’s easy to compare and compartmentalize children, and easy for children (and adults) be jealous of another’s talents and abilities. But each person in a family is valuable for the perspective, talents and abilities they contribute to the family.
And if you’d like to read more about Angus and Sadie, they appear in another of Voigt’s books, Young Fredle.