x800When Azi’s grandfather leaves their small Mediterranean island, Azi waits every day for him to return. The arrival of a nesting turtle and a tall sandy dog convinces Azi that it must mean that Grandfather is on his way. As Azi digs deeper into the past, he begins to unravel hidden secrets and starts to find out just how alike he and his grandfather really are. And without him, Azi knows he will never feel complete…



UK Release: 2018 US Release: July 2, 2019

MY TAKE: Longing…Family…and a boy finding his place. This tender story told from Azi’s viewpoint portrays his helplessness at discovering the whereabouts of his beloved grandfather, who until two years ago had raised the boy.

Azi meets a stray dog and a girl visiting the island. They give his expectations a dash of hope at reconnecting with the only person who understands the sea like he does. His current caregiver has been no help in Azi’s quest. The man prefers to be called Uncle and you won’t be sure if he really is the boy’s uncle until late in the story.

The new friendships are what keeps Azi going through one disappointing lead after another. The story reveals all and will surprise many readers like it did myself.

Perfect as a read aloud, this gentle tale will be one you remember.


THE SAND DOG by Sarah Lean

  1. The setting and Azi’s love of the ocean had me wishing for a trip to see what he experienced.
  2. The inner stories of the sea provide the eyes to how special the relationship was between a boy and his granddad.
  3. Beth is Azi’s first real friend and together their winning personalities drive the tale home.
  4. Nature is portrayed in all its beauty and often temporary status.
  5. The eloquent writing and themes make this one rise above the everyday contemporary middle grade book.


For the first time I touched the dog, stroking his head and neck, resting my hand on his shoulder. He seemed to like it, his eyes blinking slowly, as if he was feeling sleepy, or maybe remembering someone else’s hand that made him feel nice. “Even if we aren’t in the place we think of as home, we still know where we belong,” I told him


Sarah Lean grew up in Wells, Somerset but now lives in Dorset with her husband, son and dog. She has worked as a page-planner for a newspaper, a stencil-maker and a gardener, amongst various other things. She gained a first class English degree and became a primary school teacher before returning to complete an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester. A Dog Called Homeless was her first novel. (For more about Sarah and all of her books visit her website)


I received an arc for my honest review. Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to THE SAND DOG

  1. Haven’t seen this one. Looks like it’s time for a trip to the library!

  2. Denise Vahlara says:

    Sounds like a special story with the connection between the boy and his grandfather. I have it on my list to read this summer.

  3. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This book sounds beautiful! Any book that involves a love of the ocean is one that I will enjoy. (Also, the cover art is stunning!) Thanks so much for the review!

  4. Sue Heavenrich says:

    This looks like a great summer read… especially on a beach somewhere. Hope I can find a copy.

  5. Thanks for the introduction to this book — hadn’t seen it before now. Sounds like a great summer read. I love intergenerational stories.

  6. This sounds like a lovely, quiet story about an important relationship. I’ll definitely be on the lookout!

  7. Susan Uhlig says:

    Off to see if our library has it. Sounds good.

  8. This sounds like a meaningful story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us for MMGM! Have a safe and happy 4th.

  9. Sounds like a sweet connection between Azi and his grandfather. Happy Holiday!

  10. This sounds lovely. I hadn’t heard of it but will put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the post.

  11. I love that cover. Something very peaceful and serene about it.

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