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Module 7: A Dog Called Kitty

            A Dog Called Kitty

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Wallace, B. (1992). A dog called kitty. New York, NY: Pocket Books. (Originally published in 1980).


Ricky has suffered being attacked by a dog as a young child and it left its mark psychologically. He remembers the pain of the shots and stitches and now as an older boy he is still afraid of dogs. However, when he finds a starving pup in the barn, he cannot stand to watch it suffer and begins to care for it. He initially does not plan to let it stick around permanently, but his parents are excited and the pup, which he calls Kitty. slowly wins over his heart. Ricky and Kitty have many exciting adventures. Ricky teaches Kitty to avoid traps set with raw meat and Kitty and Ricky fight off a pack of wild dogs and become town heroes. Just when everything seems to be going well, there is a tragic accident near the oil rigs and Kitty is instantly killed.

My Impression

This is a heart wrenching story for a young child. I remember that I read it in elementary an cried when the dog died. Since I did not really remember the story, but remembered that I had been moved by it, I decided to read it again. I have to admit that I did not cry this time and was not near as moved. This book is not for soft-hearted children, but it is a great realistic fiction book nonetheless.


Gr 4-7  The relationship St. Louis born Ricky develops with an abandoned puppy on an Oklahoma farm has the power to triumph over his intense fears resulting from an attack by a rabid canine he experienced as a toddler. Ricky only acknowledges his love for the dog he names Kitty after his pet is accidentally killed at the site of an oil rig. Ricky’s telling of his childhood ordeal (a doctor administered 63 stitches without the benefit of anesthesia) is for strong stomachs, and the colloquial style features an occasional annoying sentence fragment. Nevertheless, the believable characterization of soft-spoken, unpretentious Ricky makes the book work.

Moose, L. D. (1981). [Review of the book A dog called Kitty, by Bill Wallace]. School Library Journal. 27 (6). Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/

Uses in the Library

I often recommend books by Bill Wallace to chapter book readers who love animals. I would be careful with this book and only recommend it those who I think can handle the tragedies in the story line. I would showcase this book and many other of Bill Wallace’s books during a discussion about the definition of Realistic Fiction.



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