When Mack Came Back

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
March/April 2001

By Brad Strickland, Reviewed by Austin Alvermann

When Mack Came Back book cover

When Mack Came Back by Brad Strickland; Dial Books
for Young Readers: New York, 2000; $15.99

I’ve always loved dogs, but I can never have one, because of my allergies. The book When Mack Came Back was appealing to me because I could understand how much the boy wanted a dog and what he felt like when he thought the dog would die. Whether you have a dog or not, you will enjoy this book!

This book is about a family’s struggles during World War II. The older brother Ben has gone off to war and the youngest son, Maury, feels very alone. There is very little money, and people can barely buy what they need. The father doesn’t like Maury as much as he likes Ben because they are so different. For example, the father and Ben like hunting while Maury would rather read and go to school.

I admire Maury because he is very good at school and he is so brave. He knew his father wouldn’t approve, but he made the choice to sell his bike to save his dog. He risked getting in trouble, because calling the vet was the right thing to do. Sometimes, whether people like it . or not, you have to do what you know is right.

There are many exciting parts in this story that make it difficult to put down. One of these times was when Maury thought he would lose his dog due to illness. A vet came and cured the dog just when Maury thought he would die. The father still tried to get the dog out of the house by attempting to give the dog away. To my relief Mack and Maury got to stay together after all.

I have had a similar experience. Once I had a pug, but my mother gave him away because of my asthma. I missed playing with Brooklyn very much. I feel lucky because my dad plays with me and is much nicer than Maury’s dad.

I learned many things from When Mack Came Back. Unlike Maury’s father, you can like people even if they are different from you. For example, if there is a new kid who comes to your school who is different, you can still be friends. I also learned to do what’s right even if other people are against you. Maury makes some tough decisions but gets some great rewards .

When Mack Came Back Austin Alvermann

Austin Alvermann, 8
Richboro, Pennsylvania

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