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Author: Jude Miller-Burke

Illustrator: Patricia St. Claire

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Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press, Inc.

Material: hard cover

Summary: Jake really wants a puppy, and has his heart set on a Samoyed. He is nine now, and is convinced he is old enough to take care of a dog. When Mom circles an ad for a Samoyed puppy he is psyched ... and so are his little brother and sister. He knows he can do this by himself, declaring that this is HIS dog. Yet when they get home, Jake makes the first mistake, and Snowball escapes, lost in a snowstorm for the night. Is Jake really ready? This classic theme of kids and puppies take center stage in this story about a new pup.

Type of Reading: family reading, bedtime story, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 9

Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter, a new dog owner herself, listened quite intently to the story. Although she seemed to miss some of the specifics of Jake's carelessness, she immediately understood the importance of listening to Mommy and Daddy (wahoo)!

Adult Reader Reaction: We enjoyed this book. The theme is classic (kids want a pet), yet the story has a fresh approach that makes it appealing for the parent who's questions of "responsibility" seem to get lost in the discussion.

Pros: This picture book offers an important message to kids who want a dog, and parents who are considering a family pet. It helps convey the risks and consequences of your actions with enough gravity that kids may just listen a little more closely.

Cons: None, really.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a book that everyone can enjoy, but it will more likely resonate with those who want to own pets or who are already dog owners.


Educational Themes: This one is obvious: getting a pet and taking care of it are big responsibilities. The story is perfect as a primer on what to do/not do, and then create house 'rules' before a pet arrives.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, animal characters, family, teamwork, emotions, picture book

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2007

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