Scout was written by Julie Nye and published by Bob Jones University Press (1987). Stephanie True was the illustrator. Though the novel was written for middle school students, a dog lover of any age will love this book. I really enjoyed it.

The main character, Jeff Wingate, has just finished sixth grade and is looking forward to his summer. He lives in the area of the Les Cheneaux Islands of northern Michigan. Les Cheneaux is along the south side of the eastern Upper Peninsula. Two towns, Hessel and Cedarville are three miles from each other on the shore of Lake Huron. Between them are thirty-six islands of all sizes. Some of them are government property. There are small towns and swamps in this area.

Jeff lives in the town of Hessel. He loves taking his boat out on the water. His dad is a writer. Currently his parents are on a trip to Europe. Twelve-year-old Jeff is staying with one of his older brothers, Phil, and Phil’s wife, Jennifer, while his parents are away. Phil and Jennifer are both schoolteachers.

One day Jeff finds an injured and bleeding dog washed up on an island. Jeff wants desperately to help him and begins praying, asking the Lord for a miracle. Somehow, Jeff gets the dog into his boat and rushes home where he and his brother head for the veterinarian. Dr. Anderson isn’t hopeful. But surprisingly, after a few days the dog is doing much better. Jeff has continued praying and rejoices that the dog seems like he will live. The dog turns out to be a purebred Doberman and highly trained. Jeff names him Scout and the two become the best of friends.

Jeff’s brother, Phil, tries to find the owner of the dog, but he is not very successful. Jeff is secretly happy that he will be able to keep Scout for awhile. The Wingate family are animal lovers; they have three other dogs and three horses. Scout goes with Jeff when he rides his horses and accompanies him on other summer adventures. Jeff’s friend Randy goes along as well.

Jeff meets Mike,  a new boy who has moved with his parents to Les Cheneaux area from California. Mike calls Jeff names at their initial meeting. Jeff knows he should just walk away, but he engages in a fistfight with the new boy. Phil is disappointed in Jeff and tries to encourage him to befriend Mike and pray for him. Eventually, Mike and Jeff do become friends and Mike’s family visits Jeff’s church. They even compete together in a horse race in a neighboring town and win first place.

Other mysterious adventures arise. There is even an attempted robbery one night of Jeff’s house. Scout saves the day, but several of Jeff’s dogs are killed. This is when Jeff really needs to lean on the Lord for strength.

Scout’s owner shows up and Jeff wrestles with the question of keeping a dog that is not his own. He knows that if he had lost a dog, he would want him back. He does the right thing. The book has a surprise, happy ending.

If you love dogs, you will love Scout. I also found it very interesting learning about the Les Cheneaux Islands. It sounds like a beautiful area.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

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