Author(s): Jill Harris
Harriet is missing her brother. She's refusing to believe that he's not coming back. She wants him to return to his untidy bedroom and make her parents happy again - like they used to be before Toby went away. Ten-year-old Harriet is lonely and is having difficulty coping with school. But she notices the dog next door is receiving visits from other neighbourhood dogs who are teaching him how to slip his collar - then slip back into it. Meanwhile, mysterious parcels are arriving in the mail for her. The dogs, who talk amongst themselves, befriend Harriet, and lead her to a garden shed where they've hidden a small, stray dog called Girl. Harriet's life becomes intertwined with the doggy community in her neighbourhood and she makes some wonderful friends: Max and Gus. In the middle of a botched rescue, Gus is whisked off to the dog pound. And Max, distressed and upset, sets out with Girl through a violent storm in order to save him. Harriet realizes she must help her new-found friends, and also gradually comes to terms with the fact that Toby isn't coming back. An affecting and warm-hearted story about the grief of a child and the healing powers of man's best friend. Missing Toby will be encouraging to children who are frightened by dogs, and one that will give pleasure to those who already love them.
Jill Harris lives in Wellington (on Tui Rd) and is surrounded by bush, sea and birds. Her first book Sil received an Honour Award at the 2006 NZ Post Book Awards for children and was also included in the notable NZ Books List for children. A former teacher and librarian, Jill Harris is also a liturgist who creates rituals and ceremonies for people who no longer go to church.