Ben falls in love with a dog, but, he is too self-conscious about his stuttering to ask the owner if he can help care for it. Even though his dad encourages him to talk, Ben will only use gestures or notes to communicate until the owner threatens to take the dog to the pound. At that moment, Ben overcomes his anxiety and has enough courage to ask to keep the dog. An excellent story for speech therapists, or for children who stutter, this book would also be helpful for classmates of a child who stutters. This colorful picture book is appropriate for young children four to eight. 2000, Albert Whitman & Company, $14.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: S. Latson SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Ben and his dad visit a junkyard every Friday to get car parts. There the boy befriends the guard dog, Spike. Week after week, he tries to communicate with the owner about taking better care of the animal, but he's too ashamed to speak because of his stutter. Finally, after a break-in, the owner threatens to get rid of the dog because he is too friendly, and Ben finds the courage to ask if he can buy him. As the boy goes home with Spike, readers know that he has gained a little self-confidence. The illustrations realistically represent the situations, conveying the junkyard setting, Ben's reluctance to speak, and the growing attachment between the child and the dog. The book has a foreword for adults and lists additional resources, including organizations and Web sites. This inspirational story will be invaluable for children who stutter or who know someone who does.-Kate McLean, Dekalb County Public Library, Tucker, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.