Author/Illustrator: Marc Simont (from a true story by Reiko Sassa)
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc,
Age Level: 3-7
Themes: dogs, pets, family outings
Opening: It was a great day for a picnic.
Summary: (From my library catalog) A family befriends a stray dog, names him Willy, and decides to keep him.
Why I like it: That was some summary from my library! Luckily the illustrations stole my heart from the start, even before the book had a lovely Caldecott Honor sticker on it. The story itself is simple, not quirky, not a mold breaker, but is what I would have wished for as a child: find a stray, and have my parents eventually melt down and want to keep it too. And Simont treats the art as if it were a memory, soft, sweet and tender. A hugable.
You probably remember Simont’s illustrations from the Nate the Great books written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, but if you don’t GO READ THEM! They’re not technically picture books, but they are perfect! Or maybe another book – he illustrated over a hundred! You can read another I reviewed HERE.