Every Dog in the Neighborhood

Stead, Philip C. Every Dog in the Neighborhood. New York: Holiday House, 2022.
If you like picture books, you probably already know that Philip Stead is a wonderful writer. If you’ve studied picture books, you already know that illustrations provide additional information to enhance the story. If you’re a teacher, you already like books that can be integrated into more than one subject. Well, this newest story by Stead is his most brilliant book yet. It’s as funny and heart-warming as the Moffat stories by Estes. Caldecott Medal winner Matthew Cordell’s illustrations are full of humorous details including a dog called E.B. who dreams of writing stories and a musician who owns two dogs called Thelonious and Monk. Younger students will be inspired to write their own letters and think of their own surveys to do after reading about Louis’s inventory of dogs. Older students will enjoy seeing how writers incorporate intriguing allusions requiring background knowledge to understand. Adults will appreciate Grandma’s complaints about city hall and how you sometimes just have to take care of things yourself. Highly recommended for everyone who likes picture books.

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I’d Like to Be the Window for a Wise Old Dog

Stead, Philip. I’d Like to be the Window for a Wise Old Dog. New York: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2022.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else? Be something else?  What would it be like to bring joy to someone else? Bring safety to someone else? Not for fame but simply out of love. This wonderfully imaginative picture book is an extraordinary example of other-centredness. You can find endless lesson plans on empathy. Instead, read this book aloud. Then start a conversation.

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Everything by Philip Stead is lovely: encouraging, hopeful, and life-affirming. Read these books, too…

The Rough Patch

Lies, Brian. The Rough Patch. New York: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
Everything is wonderful. Until it isn’t. Evan’s best friend – his dog – dies. And life becomes dark and angry. Until, in autumn, Evan takes a pumpkin from his garden and goes to the town fair. He sees some friends, wins a prize, and goes home with a new puppy. A story of loss and grief but also hope. A perfect picture book, told not only with words but also with illustrations. A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book. Recommended for readers 5 to 11 years old. 

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Dog Stories

My Dog Beerus
by Bhavneek

Beerus was a great and affectionate dog.  He was born on April 16, 2014 and was my brother’s dog but he shared him with me. I loved Beerus.

Beerus – a black and brown German shepherd cross – could do many tricks. Whenever I said, “paw,” he would put his paw in my hand and I’d give him a treat. A dog bone. Whenever I came from school, he jumped high to lick me. Whenever we tried to cut his nails, he always pretended to be dying. 

Beerus did not like having a bath. Whenever we wanted to wash him, he would hide under a bed. He wanted to stay dirty. I felt sorry that he was so afraid of water.

Beerus did not like sharing territory. Whenever we went for a walk together, he would pee on every bush we passed. I always wondered why he had to pee all the time.

Beerus was the best dog in the world. But sadly, we had to put him down. His liver was failing due to old age. He died on October 19, 2020. I still miss him. 

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“I loved my friend
He went away from me.
There’s nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.” – Langston Hughes

 

 

Siberian Huskies

Klukow, Ellen, Mary. Siberian Huskies. Mankato: Amicus, 2020.

I will remember Siberian huskies! Firstly, I will remember that they can have mismatched eyes. Secondly, I will remember that they stay the happiest with people or other dogs. They are social dogs. They love their families. Thirdly, I will remember that they don’t just look like wolves, but they also howl like wolves. Most dogs bark, but instead of barking, huskies howl. Their howls are very loud. And that is the reason they are considered vocal dogs! Fourthly, I will remember that mother huskies can have four to six puppies in a litter. All husky puppies are born with their markings; they learn howling from their mother. Fifthly, I will remember that they are considered to be escape artists. They are good at escaping from almost anywhere. They can be dig under fences. They can jump over fences. They are strong! One cool husky even ate through concrete to escape: what? Sixth – and most importantly – I will remember that in 1925, huskies saved the town of Nome, Alaska. People were dying of diphtheria, a disease that gives people a fever and a sore throat. Sled dogs brought them medicine that no one else could provide; those Siberian huskies saved 10, 000 people: that’s a lot! – Sunmeet in grade 6

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North to Benjamin

Cumyn, Alan. North to Benjamin. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2018.
Edgar is eleven years old. Not only enough to live on his own. But his mother has problems, which don’t disappear even once they move to Dawson, Yukon to start again. Only a dog named Benjamin is able to help rescue Edgar from certain disaster. This heart-breaking yet hope-filled novel by an award-winning Canadian writer is recommended for readers 11 to 16 years old.

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Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster

Howe, James. Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2018.
Houndsley enthusiastically welcomes his adventurous cousin Wagster. But his feelings start to deflate when his best friend Catina turns her attentions to fun-loving Wagster. What will happen? Will Wagster ruin everything? This heart-warming story illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay is sure to appeal to readers 4 to 8 years old. 

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