Author: Harriet Ziefert Illustrator:Barroux (click for HZ’s post on visiting Barroux) Publisher: Blue Apple, 2012 Themes: dogs, animal rescue Age Level: 4 and up Opening: Here is Lucy at the pound, where we found her. She needed to be rescued. Her time was almost up. Summary: (from the publisher) When Lucy is adopted from the local animal shelter, her new family thinks that they have chosen a perfect pet. And she is, right up to the minute she starts to howl, and howl, and howl some more. Treats, tricks, a soft red bed, lullabies, and even doggy therapy cannot stop her “Wah-ooo-ooo-roo!” It is the little girl who figures out that Lucy needs a comfy friend (her own stuffed animal) and Lucy who figures out that she needs as many as she can get her paws on. And then, all is well.
Why I like this book: I’ll admit, the cover grabbed me! And the end papers. And the seemingly simple yet heartwarming story. But the illustrator was able to show how an anxious puppy’s howling can fill a room. I have never owned a dog, but I live close to the local university. New college kids move in next door almost every year, getting a puppy and leaving it home a lot (sad to have to add this) so I know what puppy howling ‘looks’ like, and how heartbreaking it feels to hear it. Barroux must know this too! Resources/Activities: Volunteering at your local Humane Society isn’t something kids can easily do on their own, but here are some ways kids can help; offer to watch a neighbor’s puppy when they go out!
I thought the English translation might snag more interest over the original Arabic: hilm il-‘utaat kullu firaan.
In the pre-modern Middle East region cats maintained a high standing, higher than dogs anyway. At times dogs were hung or buried with the corpses of rebels and dissidents as an expression of contempt. No sharing living spaces with the religiously observant either. Bad dog! This prejudice has survived and owning one is still frowned upon.
Back to cats, though not yet to those dreaming of mice: in 13th century Cairo Mamluk sultan al-Zahir Baybars kept a garden for pampering purring pets. Even into the 1830’s the British orientalist E.W. Lane observed that people still brought baskets of tasty treats for the cats in the garden of the High Court, fulfilling obligations of the sultan’s endowment for his feline friends.
Muslim scholars wrote odes in honor of the protectors of their precious books from critters…such as mice. There are thousands of mystical Sufi stories including cats. They were famous in Islamic art; Muslim calligraphers used brushes made of the fur of long-haired cats – some bred just for this purpose.
Cats! Cats! Cats! But what does the idiom mean, you say, as I lead you astray? Exactly what I’ve been telling you: to have a one track mind!
Themes: dogs, painting, time travel, London, Delft/Netherlands, history
Age Level: 4-8
Opening: hmmm…Click on the picture to flip through some pages
Synopsis: A runaway romp through one painting and another as a boy seeks cover from bullies in an art museum. From Kirkus Review: Rogers’ Boy (from The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, 2004, and A Midsummer Knight, 2007) returns for another wordless metafictive adventure, this one centering on Dutch painting.
Reminds me of my last stay in Amsterdam, though it was a cold January and I was 6 months pregnant. This is the first I have read from Rogers, but I will keep my eyes peeled for his other titles.