A round-headed, bespectacled kid finds a stray dog and does everything to earn the dog’s trust. Arriving home from school, the narrator discovers a dog crouching in a bush in the backyard. When the dog flees, the narrator puts out water in a Frisbee for it and later provides a quilt and leftover meatballs, hoping the dog will return. Next day, the meatballs are gone, but the dog still hides. Noticing that the skinny, cringing dog has scars and no tags, the thoughtful child asks Mom why anyone would harm a dog, and she “fiercely” replies, “Some people are not as good as dogs.” After more patient conversations with the dog and more Frisbees with food, the protagonist’s efforts are finally rewarded. Referring to the stray as “Dog,” the child tells the story with a tone of urgency yet in a direct, easy-to-follow manner. Compassion for Dog shines through the text, strongly reinforced in the simple illustrations, drawn manually and colored in Photoshop. Nelson is a master at capturing nuance in facial expression and body language, both human and canine. As the unnamed narrator patiently, lovingly cares for Dog, the emotions of both are clear, and readers will cheer Dog’s transition from fear to trust as he gradually emerges from the bush. The protagonist and Mom—no other family members are depicted—both present white. This gentle, moving lesson in perseverance will touch young readers, especially the dog lovers.
A young boy finds a homeless dog and patiently works to gain its trust. Walking home from school one day, an unnamed child sees a dog hiding in the bushes near his suburban home. Thin, trembling, covered in dirt and scars, and absolutely terrified, the dog shrinks from contact with anyone. Slowly and carefully the boy and his mother begin to feed and take care of the animal. This is a quiet story about cultivating empathy for anyone or anything that needs help. The boy is kind and considerate, constantly thinking of the dog, and what he can do to improve its condition. The slow and delicate pace of the text gives weight to this process and to the heartwarming conclusion. The illustrations keep returning to the same image of the dog in the bushes, showing how he emerges from hiding more and more as he begins to trust the family. VERDICT A sweet and tender story with a positive and happy resolution. Purchase where endearing pet stories are in high demand.
—School Library Journal