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Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Dog Wearing Shoes, written and illustrated by Sangmi Ko. Scwartz & Wade Books, Random House. 2015. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Mini and her mother
bought a dog collar
and leash and went
straight to the park.
There were dogs

Soon Mini's dog had
attracted quite a crowd.
"How adorable!"
"And friendly!"

Before we begin to read the story Sangmi Ko has in store for us, she reveals the main characters in a funny, and a bit terrifying, introduction. Mini and her mom are stuck in traffic, totally bored until Mini lets out a blood-curdling yell that sends her curious mother out of the car to find a shoe-wearing dog directly in front of  their bumper.

And now to the rest of the story. Mom coaxes the puppy over and stands in the middle of the traffic jam looking for an owner. Finding none, they take the dog home with them. Did I mention that the dog is wearing shoes? Yes, four tiny yellow foot covers!

Mini is ecstatic, and can't get enough of him. They play until the dog is no longer in the mood to entertain, or be entertained. He prefers howling. Mini's mother offers an explanation. Mini doesn't want to hear it.

"Mimi, I think he's missing his family," said her mom.
"He's my family now. I found him."
"He's crying."
"He isn't crying. He's singing."
"His owner must be looking for him."
"But he has no dog collar! He doesn't belong to anybody."
"He has shoes," said her mom. "He belongs to someone."

Mini wants so badly to keep him. She decides a walk might be just what he needs. With appropriate supplies bought, they are off. Mini's dog quickly becomes the main attraction. When the dog runs away, Mini is heartbroken. Finding him again has Mini thinking about his owners and how they must be feeling. She knows what she must do. All's well that ends well, for the dog's grateful owner and for Mini.

Now, I could read this lost dog story without showing the illustrations to my audience. They would enjoy another lost dog story and the end results. There would be none of the fun experienced when given the chance to see (and then pore over) the pencil and digitally colored artwork. The humor and energy that is evident from the get-go takes readers on an emotional ride from discovery, to reluctance, to loss, to joy. I have pored over its pages numerous times, always finding something I missed the last time. It is a 'keeper'!


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