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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Very Own Dog, written by Amanda McCardie. Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2017. $22.00 ages 5 and up

"Sophie was nervous around my father at first, so he was careful not to look into her eyes or pet her or get too close. Instead, he spoke to her gently and made her the yummiest dinners.
Friendly voices relax dogs and help to build trust.
Soon she came to love him the best of all."

Are you thinking about getting a new dog? Or, do you already have one, and just want to know more about life with a canine companion, its needs and care. In both cases, I think you will find this book deserving of your attention.

A young girl and her family are the proud new owners of a rescue dog. Sophie is a tad cautious at first. Quickly, she recognizes that her 'new girl' is worthy of closer inspection. The family are certainly eager.

"We had prepared everything for our new dog:

a cozy bed and blankets,
bowls for food and water,
a toy to sleep with
and one to chew,
a ball, a leash,
and a collar."

In a different text font at the bottom of the page, we learn a little more:

"A chew toy is useful because dogs need to chew.
It's natural, calming, and good for their teeth."

I call these books faction as the author includes pertinent data to accompany the story being told.

Sophie fits in quickly with her new family. There are adventures and mishaps, all normal fare when dealing with a pet. But, Sophie responds well to her training, the many new discoveries, and the walks in the park where she meets other dogs. She enjoys their company!

In end matter, the author encourages families to do their homework before getting a new pet. Then,  learn by watching and responding to their pet and the cues they give, including a dog's body talk. An index will take readers back to pertinent information, and the author suggests two titles that could add to a knowledge base about dogs.

Salvatore Rubbino's loose mixed media images are most appealing. They are both calm and chaotic (a perfect look at life with a dog). You may find an image of your favorite breed on the book's endpapers, and you will surely find many engaging illustrations as you read it again and again.

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