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Saving Shiloh

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-7?The final volume in what is certain to become a classic trilogy, Saving Shiloh completes the story of Marty Preston; his beagle, Shiloh; and his neighbor, Judd Travers, begun in Shiloh (1991) and continued in Shiloh Season (1996, both Atheneum). Marty and his family try to help Judd change his mean ways, treating him with respect and trusting him, even while rumors persist in the community that he has murdered a man and is responsible for a series of robberies. Marty struggles to understand whether someone can change, and whether everyone deserves a second chance. In the story's climax, a flooded river that sweeps away Marty's sister and Shiloh provides the setting for the boy's questions to be answered and Judd to become an unlikely hero. The redemptive power of trust and caring is clear; Marty learns that people, like dogs, can change if they are treated well. He also realizes that Judd's own childhood abuse contributed to his behavior. The West Virginia setting is wonderfully rendered, the dialect is authentic, the characters are memorable, and the narration is nicely paced. Marty's voice, so sincere and endearing, contributes greatly to the book's success. This powerful story of redemption leaves readers feeling good. While it can stand alone, readers won't want to miss the experience of reading the whole trilogy.?Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 4^-7. Marty Preston proves himself an extraordinarily mature youngster in Naylor's Newbery Medal^-winning Shiloh (1991). In the acclaimed sequel, Shiloh Season (1996), Marty shows exemplary patience and compassion in reaching out to the dog-beating, drunk-driving Judd Travers. True, Marty is motivated by the desire to protect his beloved dog from the fearsome Judd, but nonetheless, the boy persists in showing kindness to a man who has never known kindness and certainly never shown any in return. In Saving Shiloh, which reads like a nail-biting mystery, Marty's efforts pay off--but not before the final pages. A man from a nearby town is murdered, and it is common knowledge that Travers had quarreled with him. Consequently, talk around town is that Judd is the murderer. To further complicate the situation, Judd is widely suspected of committing a series of robberies. For reasons Marty himself can't understand, he defends Judd against his neighbors' accusations. Marty desperately wants to believe that Judd is gradually changing for the better. Throughout the intriguing plot, there is an undercurrent of impending disaster, and the ending is both gripping and ultimately satisfying. This masterfully written conclusion to a sterling trilogy memorably brings home Naylor's recurring theme that everyone can make a difference by offering a helping hand--extending oneself to suffering animals and humans alike. --Ellen Mandel