The Golden Puppy

Alexander Ager, illustrated by Nadia Rice

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 30 Price: (paperback) $23.05 ISBN: 9781543492644 Reviewed: April, 2019 Author Website: Visit »

In this warm-spirited children’s picture book, a young puppy lost in a snowstorm is rescued by a kind human.

Illustrated with lovely pen-and-ink drawings highlighted with bursts of yellow, The Golden Puppy follows the tale of a puppy born in the woods. Readers first learn that the puppy’s mother had a human family but left them in order to give birth. She found a cozy tunnel under a tree and, here, began to raise her pup and keep him safe from many dangers.

But one day, presumably on the search for food, she is late coming home, and her curious and hungry child decides to explore. He has a great time romping through the snow but eventually trips and, gathering snow as he rolls down a hill, becomes the heart of a giant snowball. Luckily, the snowball stops in the middle of a road and a man driving home has to break it apart in order to continue down the road. He finds the puppy inside and takes him home to feed and wash him.

Despite moments of joy when the golden puppy experiences snow for the first time, and moments of quiet comfort when he falls asleep after eating bread soaked in warm milk, a sense of loss permeates this story. It’s never clear why the pup’s mother left her family to give birth, why she was late returning to her den on that fateful night, and whether mother and son will ever be reunited. Although the puppy is safe, readers young and old will be left with reasonable concerns about his fate and that of his mother.

Additionally, some of the pages are too text-heavy for most early readers, and some copyediting errors (e.g. missing commas) remain in need of attention.

The Golden Puppy is a sweet, simple tale that mixes adventure with uncertainty. While it ends with a resolution that seems meant to be happy, children will likely find it bittersweet at best.

Also available as an ebook.

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