Suitable for 8 - 12 years

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Rated 5/5 from 3 ratings

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Product description

A moving story of joy and heartbreak from former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. When Patrick saves a litter of greyhound puppies from the canal, he keeps a special one: Best Mate. Best Mate can run like a speeding bullet, a cheetah-dog. But when he is kidnapped and turned into a champion racer, what will happen when Best Mate can’t run any more? This compelling new book from Michael Morpurgo is a Black Beauty for today’s readers: a book of joy and heartbreak, perseverance and courage, which explores the whole range of human and animal emotion. A real page-turner from a champion author, it will make every reader’s heart race.

“Pitch perfect… this hardened book reviewer kept having to wipe away the tears.” Daily Mail

Product Details





Lexile measure


Accelerated Reader

AR book level: 5.2; Middle years; 5.0 points

Other details

  • 240 pages




Michael Morpurgo

Photo of Michael Morpurgo


  1. Kiki P.
    on 11 March 2020


    It is a really nice book, with an astonished and heart breaking ending! (I cried twice) I love it!
    Thanks to Michael Morpurgo who gave me the chance to read such a fantatic book!

    5out of 5

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What kids think

  1. 8tractor921
    on 1 July 2023

    I loved this book so much! I love all Micheal Morpurgo books but for me this one really stood out.

    5out of 5
  2. Aforever1d
    on 8 October 2017

    this is a sad story it almost made me cry. you have to read this book.

    5out of 5
  3. smint
    on 26 February 2017

    I feel so sorry for that poor dog. So many owners and names . That’s one incredible dog indeed. 100/100

    5out of 5
  4. foreverdogs
    on 17 April 2016

    Another fantastic book from Micheal Morpurgo. This is a heartwarming book about friendship , trust and the love this beautiful greyhound has for his owners. I highly recommend this wonderful book. If u start it you’ll never put it down.READ THIS BOOK.!😆😆

    5out of 5
  5. Catherine0703
    on 5 March 2014

    Born to run is a heart warming story written by an excellent author but remember to keep a box of tissues near by as it is quite sad.

    5out of 5
  6. Celine1
    on 5 March 2014

    This book is incredible and touching I love it

  7. fantasticmissfox
    on 5 March 2014

    My sister says, ” It’s about a dog, that runs a lot. end of story.” That is true but it is a compelling read. He writes it so you feel as though you are actually there. I love Michael Morpurgo’s books.

  8. Roeroerose
    on 5 March 2014

    A great read. :)

    5out of 5
  9. samy1234
    on 14 December 2013

    I think Michael Morpurgo has written this book because this book tells you about how many owners a dog can have and the many lives of one incredible dog.

    5out of 5
  10. pol09890
    on 29 May 2013

    This book was fast moving. At some points I felt really upset because there are some sad events in the book. Nevertheless, it ends happily( not a fairy tale ending though).

  11. samcharlie123
    on 9 March 2013

    A heart-warming book about a dog and Patrick. When Best Mate is rescued from the canal, he has a special bond with Patrick. A story of true friendship.

    4out of 5
  12. Nashdasher
    on 8 March 2013

    the rescue of the dogs is my favourite book this book is so heart breaking

  13. skyecapper316
    on 26 January 2013

    this book is very sad but very intriguing I almost cried. the dog in this book gets kidnapped but there was a little boy who saves a sack of grey hound puppy’s out of a canal.

    I would recommend this book to dog lovers and because I like dogs I really enjoyed this book I would rate it 5 stars !!

  14. book-review-team
    on 8 December 2012

    i think this is every heart-rending story . it is realy sad at the end and i am dying to tell you all about it so i will but if you don’t want it ruined don’t read any more!

    the story is about a boy who finds a bag of abandoned puppies in a river. the only thing wrong is that his mum and dad do not like having pets in they’re house so will he get to keep the greyhound pups?

    sarah jennings,11

    5out of 5
  15. miriam2012
    on 10 October 2012

    This is the book ages 15-29 should read it has lessons you would appreciate

    3out of 5
  16. imi264
    on 15 July 2012

    I loved this book because I didn’t know what to expect next and it was very exciting!

    5out of 5
  17. sherlockbones217
    on 5 June 2012

    Enchanting and sad at the same time. An excellent example of how to make the best of things

  18. slattery40
    on 18 May 2012

    Such a beautiful story it was one of my favourite books. But in the end I kind of got upset because…........ can’t say incase other people are reading this book! 5/5 5*

  19. sweethart184
    on 7 March 2012

    this book is lovely

  20. dashernasher
    on 4 March 2012

    This book is such a heart breaker I love.i could not put it down.

  21. nikki657
    on 3 March 2012

    I remember reading this when I was younger and finding it so heart wrenching. I would love to read it again, and would reccomend it to anybody who wants a great read that will touch your heart.

    5out of 5
  22. bluebull100
    on 3 March 2012

    this book is really moving and its one of my faves

    5out of 5
  23. svjimmy
    on 3 March 2012

    A incredibly moving story by the amazing Micheal Morpugo.I loved this story so much I read it twice!

  24. hamy1710
    on 3 March 2012

    really really good!

  25. pilgrim55
    on 2 March 2012


  26. AmyXx
    on 26 February 2012

    I thought this book was sad but was good at the same time. I like the way i could picture were it was because it had that much description.I loved the way i thought i was be hide the scene looking at the story being told. I loved all the charters. I also liked why Michael Morpurgo wrote the story i thought it was a very nice reason. I would defiantly recommend this to other reader that haven’t read it but to be aware that it is very sad.

  27. lovefrankie2002
    on 19 February 2012

    really great book but sad at the end cause patrick didnt remember him. my favourite character is joe.he is a very kind old softie and i think paddywack is a purfect name for the dog.i like the way the dog has lots of diferent owners and adventures and each owner is so dedicated to the dog in minding him. 5/5 for me hart-warming book

    5out of 5
  28. pawprint2
    on 5 February 2012

    I loved this book so sad😓

    5out of 5
  29. booksrcul
    on 29 January 2012

    It is good! This book was the first book by Michael Morpurgo I have read. It is quite sad at the end, it is sad through the book but it has a neat ending.

    4out of 5
  30. Robbiegrowler
    on 18 September 2011

    Deffo a 5 star it about a dog with no life hes get lost [stolen] then his friend is shot he runs away with , a girl and then she go in to the hospital an he get named paddywack and lives with a old man and saves the old peps home. all his names best mate , bright eyes and paddywack.

    5out of 5
  31. bluebasher123
    on 27 August 2011

    this book is really good and i felt sorry for the dog because it went through so much to find out that patrick had forgotten about him and loved another dog

  32. bookworm75
    on 20 July 2011

    i loved this book as it is about an incredible dog who goes through the variation of names, to patrick hes best mate to to rosie hes bright eyes, to joe hes paddywack. it was very emotional.!!! it made me cry. i reccommkend it for 9-15 yr olds

    5out of 5
  33. emilythetiger
    on 10 July 2011

    it looks like a sad story and he sometimes put comculated words for 9+.

    5out of 5
  34. luckygirl2011
    on 23 June 2011

    it was amazing i cryed all the way though it

    Best book ever i think as long as u are above 8+ you could read it because it is a little bit complacated as it keeps jumping

    5out of 5
  35. floppyears
    on 16 June 2011

    This was a really good book to read. it’s a really easy read so is great if you are not a big fan of reading like me!

    4out of 5
  36. spongebob101
    on 18 May 2011

    I really liked this book and it almost makes me cry when i read it. i would reccomend it to a boy or girl aged 9+ because i dont think a 7 year old would get whats happening in it.

    5out of 5
  37. silver1
    on 5 March 2011


  38. gethi
    on 3 March 2011

    It’s so sad and moving!

    4out of 5
  39. monkey00
    on 3 March 2011

    I like the look of it, but i think it would make me cry way too much!!! :(

  40. UltimateBookWorm
    on 3 March 2011

    BestMate was a brilliant dog who was put through some rough times. I didn’t understand some of it as I was 9 when I read it but it was good all the same :)

    4out of 5
  41. Egghead
    on 14 February 2011

    This book is so moving but utterly amazing! Makes you want to cry!

    5out of 5
  42. Rhythm
    on 3 November 2010

    I loved the book yet still sad. I would rate 5 stars! Great book!

    5out of 5
  43. Banana88
    on 19 July 2010

    This book was a quick read, (took me a weekend to start and finish it), and was a real page turner. I thought it was very descriptive, and had a great plot, along with great characters. I reccommend this read! It was also not too sad, which was good, as I don’t like sad books! -Banana88

    5out of 5
  44. Kebabbie
    on 12 October 2009

    Really liked this book, recommend to anyone, different to what I expected

    4out of 5
  45. StanboroughH7
    on 11 September 2009

    This book, along with Private Peaceful is my favorite book. It’s about a boy who saves a few puppies from a canal, and keeps the one that caught his eye the most, Best Mate. Best Mate can run as fast as the wind, and travels from family to family racing as a champion greyhound.

    5out of 5
  46. hannahmontanafan
    on 6 September 2009

    This book is sooooo gripping as it shows you how much this dog has gone though in it’s lifetime. I say you should read it. I’m not kidding you, you will love it!!!


    5out of 5
  47. Tottenham4lyfe
    on 13 August 2009

    amazing i luved this book it was one thoes you couldnt put down. it was like the book was speaking to me it was soo good. it was really sad at the end and beging and made me cry throughout the whole of it but it made me really happy too. i would reccomend this book yo anyone!!!

    5out of 5
  48. Ben05
    on 6 June 2009

    This is a moving, inspirational story about a dog. This dog experiences many disasters: deaths, disappearances. He is turned into a racing dog and finally, returned to his owner. This is a wonderful book. The characters are lifelike, and Michael Morpurgo has written this to the best of his ability. Many people (including myself), reckon that this is a sad story but also an exceptionally good one! I would recommend this book to anyone, especially dog lovers and Michael Morpurgo lovers! I can understand why Michael Morpurgo is the Author of the Month. This story deserves 5/5 – I loved it, so much to the point, that I would definitely read it again.

    5out of 5
  49. Thingymabob2
    on 27 May 2009

    This book was sooooo sad, when i found out what happened to Alfie the book got stained with tears! The dog go’s though three different names, BestMate with Patrick, Brighteyes with Becky and Paddywack with Joe. This book is a must!

    5out of 5
  50. tobyonecanoby
    on 25 April 2009

    This book was amazingly wrote by the best author ever!! It was vey sad which made the book great as it was sad and happy at the end! I LOVED IT!!

    5out of 5
  51. Nat888
    on 25 December 2008

    This book is really touching, and is a brilliant read!

    4out of 5
  52. ambz
    on 4 December 2008

    i love this book i think best mate is an amazing dog and when iam older i want a dog the same as him it has its sad moments but still it is a really really really good book

  53. tabkat21
    on 9 November 2008

    I absolutely adore this book. Such a sad ending though, My breath was took away by this book, everyone has to read it, you are really missing out if you dont!!!

    5out of 5
  54. sophiesweetestpal7
    on 5 November 2008

    Born to run book is great! every one must read it even though it has a sad ending

    5out of 5
  55. keeboy
    on 20 September 2008

    this book is super buy it

    5out of 5