The Good Dog is a simple, sweet picture book that shows the ways children can learn life lessons from their pets and be inspired by them to help and care for others .
The book opens with a veterinarian telling young Daisy that she can now see her dog, Charlie. At this stage, we don’t know what has happened to Charlie, and the story continues with Daisy cuddling Charlie on the vet’s table and recounting the many things Charlie does that makes her happy. Daisy then tells Charlie that, just like him, she wants to do kind things for other people, such as making others feel welcome, helping with chores, and generally making people feel cared for.
The narrative’s language and syntax are clean, and younger readers and families will enjoy the story’s appreciation of all pets do for their families.
Meanwhile, the pictures translate the message in easily understandable and relatable ways that are sure to spur readers to recall memories of the dogs in their own lives. Additionally, the dynamic use of color helps readers zoom in on who is the actor in each image and where attention should be focused. (However, the constant patterning of text on the left-hand page and a full illustration on the right-hand page can become visually tedious.)
The fact that readers don’t know whether Charlie is OK at the beginning of the story (and, unfortunately, still haven’t learned the reason for the vet visit by story’s end) may trouble some younger readers. On the other hand, it might also provide a way for families to talk about feelings when pets are sick or hurt and how people might care for them.
Despite this oversight, the story is well-told, with a strong message about the inspiration pets provide to the families who care for them. Parents and children alike, particularly those with dogs of their own, will surely enjoy this touching offering.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.