Spoiler alert (in a way)
"FINALLY!!!" my son exclaimed, "A dog book where the dog does not die!"
I read this 2001 Newbery honor book with my son. As evidenced above, he loved the book. He belly-laughed through some of it. This was a light-hearted read-aloud for a wide variety of ages (grades 2-8). I love that the characters in this book are "normal" flawed people with issues to which the average person can relate. And, like my son says, you don't end up crying at the end because the dog doesn't die.
Link to Kate DiCamillo's author site: http://www.katedicamillo.com/