The Enid Blyton Society
Shadow, the Sheep-Dog
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Book Details...

First edition: 1942
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: Lucy Gee
Category: One-off Novels
Genre: Family/Animal
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Julie Heginbotham
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Lucy Gee



1st Australian edition published by Angus and Robertson in 1948
re-illustrated cover by an uncredited artist.



Frontis from the 1958 Collins reprint, illustrated by G.W. Backhouse
As the title states, this story is about Shadow, a sheep dog, born on the farm from one of the other sheep dogs. Her name was Jessie and she had three pups, two were sold, and the third was also sold, but kept returning to the farm, and so the son of the farmer, a boy called Johnny was allowed to keep the pup, providing the dog worked for his living, as did the other dogs on the farm.

Johnny called the dog Shadow, as he was constantly by his side. He trained the puppy himself, and Shadow also learnt many ways from the other dogs on the farm. There was Jessie; she guarded the house and the yard. Tinker, Rafe, and Dandy were all sheep dogs. Bob was a mongrel, but still worked the sheep, and belonged to Andy the shepherd.

This is another story, I never read as a child. Of all the Blyton books I've read, this is the only one I can say, to my mind, was written from the heart. Enid's love of animals, dogs, farms, and nature comes to its own in this book. She writes from Shadow's viewpoint, and this includes all the other dogs. They teach Shadow, from a puppy themselves, and grow to love this adorable dog, who goes on to win sheep dog trials, and becomes a faster runner than any of the other dogs. Johnny adores him and he sleeps every night on his little master's bed. Johnny understands everything that the dog is trying to tell him, and Shadow too understands everything that Johnny and his parents say.

There is no plot to this story; every chapter is about what Shadow got up to that particular day. Towards the end of the book, the farm is struggling financially, and an American asks if he can buy Shadow, as hes just seen him winning at the trials. Enid I think wrote this in the book, so that the reader would be genuinely upset, and rather alarmed that the farmer could even consider selling such a wonderful dog. You can't put a price on the love that a dog gives you so unconditionally, but Enid does put a price on this, and I'm happy to say, that Shadow doesn't get sold. An unfortunate accident happens, that temporarily blinds Shadow, but the dog soon recovers, and stays with the family, where he rightly belongs.

Enid still puts the values she taught into the book such as honesty. Johnny taking the sheep and a few lambs to market, one day, forgets to count the lambs after he and Shadow stop on a wayside common to have lunch. Setting off, Shadow knows one lamb is missing, but Johnny still carries on to market. Once there he realizes his mistake and Shadow goes back to find and retrieve the lamb. Once home, Johnny's Father is full of praise for Johnny's ability to take the sheep on his own to market. Being an honest boy, Johnny tells his Father he doesn't deserve the praise, as he forgot to count the lambs, and that Shadow had to go back and retrieve the little creature. His Father is still pleased that his son has been honest enough to own up to the mistake.

In another instance, a boy was bullying Johnny as he went to school, causing the boy to be late every day for a week. Johnny told Shadow, and Shadow told the rest of the dogs on the farm. They cornered the bully and surrounding him in the field, didn't allow him to go for his lunch. Johnny witnessed this, and spoke to the boy, saying that until he promised not to make him late for school again, he wouldn't call off the dogs. The boy promised he'd leave Johnny alone from now on, and the dogs were called off. Another example of the bigger boy being paid back for bullying Johnny.

This story is well worth a read for anyone who loves dogs, and farm life. It focuses strongly on a boy who loves his pet dog, and the unconditional love a dog gives in return. A boy with strong family values, who's even prepared to sell the dog he loves, to enable his family to escape the financial struggle they face. But then times get easier, and as Enid writes, bad luck can always turn into good luck.

This is a beautifully written book. I'm happy I bought it to add to my growing collection. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.