My All-Time, Super Most Ever Favorite Childhood Book in the History of my Entire Life, Publishing, and the Universe

“The dog had no name. For a dog to have a name someone must candyhave him and someone must love him, and a dog must have someone. The dog had no one, and no one had the dog. The dog had only the silent empty countryside of the few houses. The dog had only the crumbs and cleaned bones he could pick up at the few houses. The dog had only himself, so the dog had nothing, and he was afraid.”

Are you blubbering into your oatmeal right about now? Because if you aren’t, then you have no soul. I first read this book back when I was in third grade (1968, for those playing along at home) and no book before or since then has taken its place in my heart.

Hurry Home, Candy was a Newbery Honor book for 1954. Its author, Meindert deJong, is notable in that two of his books were runners-up for the Newbery in 1954, and he was awarded a total of five in his lifetime, with The Wheel on School  taking the gold in 1955. As an added bonus, the illustrations in Hurry Home, Candy are by Maurice Sendak.

Hurry Home, Candy, then, tells the story of Candy, a little pup who is taken from his mother to live in the big house with the boy and the girl and the big loud man and the angry woman who uses a broom to punish him when he is bad. On a trip to visit the children’s grandparents, Candy is lost in a flash flood. Thus begins his life as a stray and his journey to find his forever home. It is a journey that is heart-wrenching and poignant and adventurous. Meindert deJong is a master of using animals to wring out every bit of emotion in the reader, and Hurry Home, Candy is his classic example.

It’s a sweet and sad story of loneliness and belonging and overcoming fears, and you need to take yourself to the library and get this book and read it. Right this minute.

Take a hanky.

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