Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Dog Who Belonged to No One

The Dog Who Belonged to No One

Fall 2008 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Amy Hest
Illustrator: Amy Bates
ISBN: 9780810994836
Hardcover Price: $15.95
This is really two parallel stories that converge in the end: an adorable dog with a crooked ear who needs a home and a long-skirted pinafore-wearing little girl who delivers bread on a bicycle. Thanks to a deus ex machina in the form of a storm, the two, quite literally, cross paths: dog winds up with a home and girl winds up with a dog. It's nothing if not sweetly wholesome, and everything is bathed in the golden glow of nostalgia. The whole package is designed to look old-fashioned as well, from the thick pebble-textured paper used for the jacket to the text set in decorative gold borders to the details of the rural setting filled with windmills and chickens and laundry drying on the line. The writing is quaintly poetic: "And as day turned slowly to night, Lia pedaled all the way home…pedal, pedal, pedal…to the crooked little house, where she climbed into bed and tucked herself inside herself and dreamed." The dog is highly anthropomorphized-full of hopes and dreams and longings and fears. Those looking for a taste of yesteryear-however prettified-will find satisfaction here. One anachronism: the bike is pictured with hand brakes-an invention that replaced the old coaster brakes and the even older spoon brakes at a much later date.

Note: It is difficult to accurately define the time period-but there are cobblestone streets, wooden sidewalks, and kerosene lamps-although oddly there seems also to be a streetcar in this very rural town-all of which seems to indicate the 1930's at the latest and the late 1800's at the earliest.

Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

Look for this product at:
Harry N. Abrams, Inc. / Abrams Books for Young Readers

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