When You Wander, A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story – PPBF

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dogTitle: When You Wander, A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story

Written by Margarita Engle

Illustrated by Mary Morgan

Published by Henry Holt and Company LLC, 2013

Ages: 4-8

Themes: search dogs, rescue work, lost children,

Opening line:

I am a graduate of sniffing school.  


Readers will meet a young rescue dog, who has just graduated from sniffing school and a toddler, who loves cookies, books and jumping in puddles. It is a warm and reassuring story of a child’s innate curiosity causing it to lose its way and the faithful, newly trained rescue dog using all its skills to find the child and bring it to safety. The language skips a gentle trace across the pages of soft, muted forest scenes and there is no fear, despite the child wandering.

Engle has included a page of rescue dog nose facts AND advice for parents and teachers about keeping children safe.

Why I like this book:

This picture book includes many facts about these wonderful rescue dogs, beautifully woven into to storyline. I like the choice of fiction, and feel the story and message will appeal to very young children. They will learn how when a dog sniffs, it is smelling the story of the animals and people that have passed that spot. Its is a moving story that will help kids stay safe and help them appreciate the training and work of these dogs. I didn’t know the advice to teach children to choose a special tree friend and stay put when they get lost!

This is a great addition to the topics of child safety and dogs at work.


The Search And Rescue dog website is http://sardog.org/

On July 28th, Margarita’s latest book was published, which would be a great companion here for children 8 and up, MOUNTAIN DOG.

Safe Kids Worldwide website offers great safety tips form 5-9 year-olds.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books

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15 Responses to When You Wander, A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story – PPBF

  1. Guess there could be trouble for some in choosing a tree friend when there are many! This looks lovely, and I suppose it’s based on Chance, no?

  2. You had me at “dog.” I will certainly check out this new book!

  3. What a terrific selection. The illustrations look so warm and friendly. I think kids would really enjoy this book as I enjoyed your review. So much for kids to learn in this story. Great choice.

  4. We have friends who are raising money for a service dog who can sniff out low blood sugar levels, even from a distance. Isn’t that amazing?? Thanks for sharing this one, Joanna!

  5. This looks like a great choice for educators and a fun read. Thanks!!

  6. This sounds like a comforting way to address the issue of getting lost, and also a great introduction to the work search and rescue dogs do. Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

  7. janet wong says:

    I love this book, too. It makes a perfect gift for a 3-6 year-old child–especially one who is a little afraid of dogs (which is why I bought it) and ESPECIALLY with a golden retriever stuffed animal!!

  8. Rhythm says:

    This looks like an excellent book! I’m surprised that I haven’t seen it before! I can usually sniff out all the dog books. The 4th graders at our school here read a story in their textbooks about a search and rescue dog. And when it’s time for them to read it, Walker and I go in and pretend to be SAR dogs. We can fake it pretty good, but when it comes to really saving a life – whew! Those real SAR dogs are pretty incredible! I’ll have to look for this book. Thanks!

  9. The dog’s eyes are so cute! The illustrations are wonderful! The opening is wonderful! This book is wonderful! And I MUST read wonderful books! 😀

  10. Leslie Rose says:

    Those eyes on the cover illustration are adorable. I think I’ve just found my goddaughter’s Christmas present.

  11. clarbojahn says:

    This book sounds so good. Good at telling a story, good at helping kids stay safe and good at teaching what a search and rescue dog do. Thanks for this addition to the site. 🙂

  12. Oh Joanna, what a terrific book. You know I gotta get it now right? That cover and the opening line had me. Great pick pal! Dogs are so amazing. And this teaches too.

  13. Cathy says:

    LOVE the first line! “I am a graduate of sniffing school”
    Can’t wait to find out what the dog says when he finds his first lost child!

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