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Book Reviews

C’mere, Boy!

by Sharon Jennings; Ashley Spires, illus.

It’s a harsh world for a dog without a boy, as Dog comes to realize. Although Dog has been living a quiet life at home until now, his week-long search for a boy leads him to realize that on his own, he is not welcome at the groomer’s (he has no money), the mall (“No Dogs Allowed!”), or even the dog park (leashed dogs only). Sharon Jennings’ sweet, simple story teaches children how much their four-legged friends depend on them to be loving and responsible friends.

Dog becomes more and more hopeless, and he almost gives up completely when the dog catcher nabs him. What’s a dog to do? Luckily (and unsurprisingly), a nice red-headed boy who smells just right visits the pound. Dog is convinced at once. “You are the right boy!” he announces. “I’ll take you!”

Jennings’ simple language is immensely enriched by the watercolour illustrations of Ashley Spires (Binky the Space Cat), who takes full advantage of inverting the norm and bringing the dog’s world to life: a fetching stick is stuck above the front door of Dog’s house, and a puffed-up poodle looks down on him from a hairdrying chair at the groomer’s. Colour is used sparingly in the beginning, with most of the backgrounds and secondary characters drawn only in sepia tones. Then, in a Wizard of Oz–like transformation, the boy appears with his bright orange hair, pink hearts radiating from his body. For Dog, it’s love at first sniff.

This story will appeal to parents teaching young readers about the special bond between children and their pets (and, as a bonus, the days of the week). Much as she did with 2005’s Bearcub and Mama, Jennings has penned a tale that will instill in children the joys of growing up with a loving family.