November 2, 2012
The Helpful Puppy by Kim Zarins, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Everyone has a job to do. Everyone but Puppy, that is. He can’t crow or pull a heavy cart or even catch mice. Just when Puppy is wondering when the day will come that he will be able to help on the farm, he hears the whistle and springs into action. His boy is home from school. The two run and roll and catch until its time to collapse into bed together.
Usually the picture books that pull me in are laugh-out-loud hilarious or super quirky. This one is sweet, much sweeter than what I usually enjoy. Yet, somehow, it pulled me in.
So too it will draw in young readers who see everyone else doing something important and wondering when their day will come. Not to worry! A book with this kind of theme could feel preachy but not The Helpful Puppy. The lesson, gentle and mellow, is woven in beneath the story of a wee, little dog who wants to do what the other animals do. In the end, he finds his place by simply being himself.
Sweet, not preachy, and slow in an almost sleepy way, this gentle story would make an excellent bed time book, ending with Puppy and his boy hitting the hay. Pick it up to share with the little book lover in your life.