In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home.
Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
The Elliott Review:
This book, released today, grabbed my heart long before I ever read it with the amazing picture of Oogy on the cover and with the very moving trailer online (below). When I finally got my hands on this book, it did not disappoint in any way. It is, in fact, just as moving as all the good press lead me to believe.
The story behind Oogy's mistreatment and subsequent welcome into the Levin household is one that will instantly grab anyone's heart. The idea that a dog could survive such treatment and not only survive but thrive is a message that resonates with all people - we are all survivors of something in some way. It's amazing to see a mere animal that can be an example for weathering life's trials and still having a great, productive life.
One of the most moving things about this book is the way the theme of adoption is treated. The story of how Levin's children were adopted and his thoughts about being a father greatly strengthen the positive and inspirational message. Their household is one that is all about inviting and giving second chances and being successful in life.
This book is for all ages, really. Children old enough to understand, teens, adults - everyone has the potential to fall in love with Oogy. I will be placing it in my classroom library so that my middle-schoolers can enjoy the story.
A small (but, to me, very important) side note: Oogy does not die at the end of this book!
Thanks to Hachette Books for providing a copy of this book for a fair review. I was not required to write a positive review.