A Dog Wearing Shoes – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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dogTitle: A Dog Wearing Shoes

Author & Illustrator: Sangmi Ko

Publisher: Schwarz & Wade Books, New York, 2015

Themes: empathy, loss, grief, dog adoption

Ages: 3-7


One day, mimi was on her way home from grandpa and grandma when suddenly…



Mini and her mom spot a stray dog in the road – a dog with no collar but a matching set of little yellow booties. They see no obvious owner on the busy highway and so take the dog home but are quite aware that someone is likely looking for this tricksy pup.

Mini is ecstatic, then exhausted, then heartbroken when the dog escapes in the park and when they go looking at a refuge she realizes the dog’s real child owner had been grieving too.

Why I like this book:

Heart + humor+sparse daubs of color (yellow and red)=charming tale of compassion. Empathy is the natural result of Mini’s revelation that her new lost doggy actually belonged to another child who had been grieving the loss badly. The decision to go to a shelter to adopt another ‘lost’ dog seems inevitable and yet so touching as the outcome of this quirky tale. Of course, the addition of the shoes seals the deal and the energy of the spunky pup and effusive little girl explode through the whimsical illustrations in black and white. This is truly a visual and textual delight that had me grinning from page one.

The artist draws the extremes of childhood emotion perfectly, with a cartoonish style for exaggeration—her eyes bug out and her tears pool and her smile splits her face. The art is full of movement lots of bendy legs curvaceous movement, short little legs going like sixty; also, the black and white offers a fine use of shadows, both to indicate mood and to aid composition.

This is based on a true story. The author’s niece once found a dog with shoes on and after returning him to his owner she goes ahead and adopts a dog named Ray. Sangmi herself lives in Seoul with two adopted dogs. It is a wonderful picture book to give to a child whose parents are considering adopting an animal from a shelter.


The back page of the book has terrific and simple information about dog adoption as well as three suggested to sites to go to.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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16 Responses to A Dog Wearing Shoes – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Wendy Greenley says:

    This book is in my “love it” pile, too! Great story, backstory, art! Great choice, Joanna. 🙂

  2. What a mixture of emotions for a child. But, I love how they go and adopt a dog. The art is wonderful!

  3. Such expressive eyes! No wonder the heroine fell in love with this pup so quickly. Love that it is based on a true story.

  4. Awww…. I’m a push over for a puppy story. What a beautiful outcome. Must see if I can get a hold of it. Thanks for sharing Joanna. Great choice as always.

  5. Love the black & white illustrations with that splash of yellow! what fun. And a dog story – who can resist?

  6. Andrea Mack says:

    I want to find this one! Another one where the use of colour is significant. Plus, it’s about a dog! As Sue says, who can resist!

  7. I recently read this one – interesting illustrations. Sure to touch a child’s heart and send them begging for a dog!

  8. So glad they got the dog. Another important book. 🙂

  9. Chattytcp says:

    I am not familiar with this book but it sounds wonderful! I’m putting it on my “to do” list”. Pronto. Thanks for sharing.

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