Shoe Dog – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Time once again to add to Susanna Leonard Hill’s growing list of recommended picture books. 

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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

38 thoughts on “Shoe Dog – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      The story pairs well with discussion about homeless animals. And on the personal responsibility side, it shows how a little one can change a undesirable behavior into something else.

      I think it could be used to teach specific art techniques. It’s so interesting to see how a few scribbles give us the essence of a constantly moving puppy. It’s perfect!

  1. Sheila says:

    That’s a great idea to draw a puppy full of squiggles because they can be so squiggly! I love how some of those phrases sound a bit like poetry. For some reason, this makes me want to get another puppy. I never cared much for shoes anyway. 🙂

  2. FictionFan says:

    Ooh, I can’t do animal books! They make me cry! Poor, poor little Shoe Dog on the cold floor – what a cruel mistress! I hope it has a happy ending…

    Signed: Worried from Kirkintilloch

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, you’ll bounce right back to the front cover and read it again. 😀

      Great illustrators create a sense of character in just a few strokes. Shoe Dog is a fine example. Those squiggles over the smudged color just scream PUPPY!! 😀

  3. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Well, I put this one on hold before I finished reading the post. Thankfully, my library had this one. I’m about 50-50 this week. The illustration on the cover is unique and your description make me want to read this now.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      LOL! Maybe if you made a stuffed animal for your dog that was all eyes that couldn’t be chewed off? Or maybe, like Shoe Dog, there’s a missing friend who needs to be discovered? Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Lady Fancifull says:

    I might pass on this (delightful though it appears) as i think it might be a little too old for me

    Not to mention my own challenges with shoe and bag cat. Who is also Kindle cover cat, diary cat, purse cat, cheque book cover cat, and I guess anything else which holds the smell of handling or footling. The challenge is visitors with designer footwear…………..

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I think it’s well done in so many ways. When my 11-yr-old son enjoys reading a picture book, I know it’s got that little something extra that makes a PB stand out from the crowd. Thanks for stopping by!

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