Time once again to add to Susanna Leonard Hill’s growing list of recommended picture books.
As I passed the “new” shelf in our library, the cover illustration of Shoe Dog caught my eye. Katherine Tillotson, magically transforms a handful of brown scribbles into a sniffing, chewing, boisterous puppy. And when I opened it up for a quick read, Megan McDonald’s playful text kept me laughing and turning the pages to see what mischief Shoe Dog was going to cause next.
In the first spread, the shadow of a woman enters an animal shelter. Shoe Dog bounces frantically inside.
“Ooh, look at the puppy!
Who’s a good boy?
You’re so cute. Yes, you are!”
He perked up an ear at the kitchee-coo words.
In the next spread, we see “Shoe Dog” snuggled in the woman’s arms, but he does not yet have his name.
Dog wanted a home.
A real home.
A place full of
hundreds of nose kisses,
dozens of tummy rubs.
A place warm as soup
and cozy as pie.
But we soon find out that Shoe Dog is in for trouble. He doesn’t chew boring old dog toys. He chews…SHOES! (Oh, you are so smart to figure this out.)
As shoe after shoe turns into Shoe Dog fodder, he finds himself banished from “The Land of Upstairs,” and sleeping on the downstairs cold, cold floor. In the darkness, he ponders his uncertain future:
Shoe Dog did not want to go back
to the Land of Sad Puppies
and Scratched-Up Cats
and One-Eared Bunnies.
For the next long while,
Shoe Dog was a Good Dog.
He did not chew so much
as a fleabite.
But when his human, “She, Herself,” comes home with another round of packages, the “friendly rustle-bustle of Noisy Paper” is sooooo tantalizing!
What will Shoe Dog do? The ending is surprising, but inevitable. Best to see for yourself.
TItle: Shoe Dog
Author: Megan McDonald
Illustrator: Katherine Tillotson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pub date: 2014