Title: A Dog Wearing Shoes
Author & Illustrator: Sangmi Ko
Publisher: Schwarz & Wade Books, New York, 2015
Themes: empathy, loss, grief, dog adoption
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.