Walter Farley

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Andrea Dinoto

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[The title character of "The Great Dane Thor"] is the pet of a writer who lives an isolated life in the country with his wife and son, Lars. A solitary boy whose friends are woodland creatures, Lars dreads the undisciplined strength of the Dane—until poachers' guns are aimed at the wild-running dog. In that violent, deadly climax, father and son find their true relationship to each other and to Thor.

Mr. Farley is concerned with spelling out the inner conflicts of his characters—so concerned, in fact, that he forgoes an atmosphere of sheer animal excitement in favor of object lessons in loneliness, courage, fear and ethics. As a result, Thor is never a central, compelling creature, and it is difficult to sustain sympathy and enthusiasm for him. A question comes to mind: Can the author of so many thrilling horse stories find success and happiness writing about dogs—even horse-sized dogs? Neigh.

Andrea Dinoto, "Ages Nine to Twelve: 'The Great Dane Thor'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1966 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), November 6, 1966, p. 42.

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