Shoe Dog – Perfect Picture Book Friday

6 Feb

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 11.50.35 PM

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 Responses to “Shoe Dog – Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. Carrie Rubin February 6, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    Looks cute and what a great cover, too!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      Yes, I think this one will go straight to any dog lover’s heart. 😀

      • susanissima February 6, 2015 at 11:38 am #

        Love the happy puppy cover! My grandson will, too. Thanks for sharing, Jilanne!

        • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 11:42 am #

          So many of the illustrations are just perfect. Spot on to how that little puppy feels, his enthusiasms and his fears. It’s really wonderful. I do think your grandson will love it and want to read it repeatedly, so get your vocal chords prepped. 😀

  2. Patricia Tilton February 6, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    What a cute idea for a book! I can understand how the cover grabbed your attention. Can see how this story could be used in different ways.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 11:47 am #

      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!

  3. Joanne Sher February 6, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    This looks so very delightful and fun. Lovely language. Thanks for sharing, Jilanne!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

      I love the author’s voice here. It’s fresh and gives us great insight into Shoe Dog’s perspective.

  4. Sheila February 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    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. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

      It will really make you want another puppy if you read it. I dare you to resist!

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill February 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh! So cute! I’m dying to know the ending! And I’m glad for Cupcake and Rhythm that someone chose a dog book today since I chose a cat one 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this sweet-looking fun story!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

      If you read this, you’ll find that there’s something for both sides of the fur fence. Not wanting to give anything away. Wink wink…

  6. FictionFan February 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    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 February 6, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

      Oh, I think you and your furry friends would smile at the happy ending. So sorry to upset you. Perhaps if you give your felines a little hug, you’ll feel better.

  7. Joanna February 6, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    That artwork is just too smart! This books sounds full of bounce.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

      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!! 😀

  8. Mrs. P February 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    Cute book…I love people who can create art simply and make it really communicate!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      I equate it to writing a really fantastic poem. Much is conveyed through a few brush strokes.

  9. Stacy S. Jensen February 6, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    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 February 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

      I think you’ll love it! So glad your library had it!

  10. Heather Dent February 7, 2015 at 5:30 am #

    I can certainly relate to this one! Haha! Only my dog chews the eyes off my son’s stuffed animals rather than shoes.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 7, 2015 at 10:08 am #

      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!

  11. Lady Fancifull February 7, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    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 February 7, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      Perhaps you should write your own book from the cat’s perspective? It sounds like you have plenty of material. 😀

  12. Letizia February 7, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Another adorable looking book. Those “new” shelves at the library will get us every time…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 7, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      I lie in wait for new books to be placed on that shelf. Our librarian has lost a finger or two while putting out the new selections, so she now wears protective armor.—True Confessions of a Library Lion

      • Letizia February 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

        Protective armor, haha!

  13. Diane Tulloch February 8, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Awww…. that is one cute dog! Oh I can see how temptation would get in the way. I’m curious about the ending now. Have to check this one out. Thanks!

  14. Catherine Johnson February 9, 2015 at 1:52 am #

    Ooh I love tge scribbly illustrations and the poetic writing! Thanks for sharing, Jilanne.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 9, 2015 at 9:06 am #

      She’s really got a way with words. I think you would enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

  15. heylookawriterfellow February 9, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Oh, you had me with the cover. No wonder why you picked it up!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 9, 2015 at 9:09 am #

      Grrrrrrrrr! Slurp! Oh, I like the looks of your shoes. You wouldn’t mind of I had just a teensy tinesy nibble, would you—

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 9, 2015 at 9:11 am #

      Mike! My WordPress account was hacked by Shoe Dog! I’ve got him under control now. Liam’s taking him for a walk. Good thing he doesn’t like homework papers….

      • heylookawriterfellow February 9, 2015 at 9:24 am #

        Tsk, tsk. At least Lucy has her own WordPress account.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann February 9, 2015 at 9:27 am #

          Shoe Dog, unlike Lucy, isn’t independently wealthy with an offshore money-laundering scheme. Although, he does have an off-shoe account.

        • heylookawriterfellow February 9, 2015 at 10:32 am #

          Fair enough.

  16. Sue Heavenrich February 9, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    Shoe Dog – what an apt name. And I love the squiggly lines…. this looks like an all-around fun read.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 9, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      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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