Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Before you were mine by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by David Walker

This sweet, gentle story speculates on what happened to a little dog before he was adopted from the shelter. Maybe his owners loved him but couldn't keep him. Maybe they weren't prepared for a puppy. But now he has a new home and is loved. There is an author's note at the back encouraging people to consider adopting from shelters. The illustrations are soft and warm and match the tone of the story.

I have one major caveat. One of the "maybes" says, "Or maybe one day they left their gate open, and you ran away and they never heard that if your dog runs away, you look for him...until you find him." Whoa, way to lay the guilt on! So, if a child's beloved pet runs away, and they spend hours calling, and ask all the neighbors, and put up posters, and call the local shelters, but still don't find him, it's your fault?

Verdict: This is a sweet book and excellent in most respects, but I wouldn't read it to a child whose pet has run away.

ISBN: 978-0399245268; Published September 2007 by Putnam; Borrowed from the library

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