First Dog
  • Alternative view 1 of First Dog
  • Alternative view 2 of First Dog
  • Alternative view 3 of First Dog
<Previous >Next

First Dog

4.6 5
by Patrick Lewis, Beth Zappitello, Tim Bowers

Once upon a time a dog was looking for a home. Not just any home -- the perfect home, to be exact. So he decides to travel the world, visiting different countries and seeing how other dogs live. On his travels Dog meets a Newfoundland in Newfoundland, an English bulldog in England, a poodle in Paris, and many other different kinds of dogs. And he learns about what…  See more details below


Once upon a time a dog was looking for a home. Not just any home -- the perfect home, to be exact. So he decides to travel the world, visiting different countries and seeing how other dogs live. On his travels Dog meets a Newfoundland in Newfoundland, an English bulldog in England, a poodle in Paris, and many other different kinds of dogs. And he learns about what they do and how they live. But sadly, none of these places are what Dog has in mind. Can Dog find the perfect home? YES, HE CAN!! Savvy readers may have already guessed where Dog's perfect home is located but everyone, young and old, can't help but smile at the happy ending to his journey.J. Patrick Lewis lives in Westerville, Ohio, and is the author of 60 books for children. He writes full-time, visits elementary schools, and speaks at literature conferences. First Dog is his first book with his daughter, Beth Zappitello. Beth has a marketing company and lives in Portland, Oregon. Early in his career Tim Bowers worked for Hallmark Cards, helping to launch the Shoebox Greetings card line. He has illustrated more than 25 children's books, garnering such awards as the Chicago Public Library's "Best of the Best" list. Tim lives in Granville, Ohio.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—In this story that encourages animal adoption, a Portuguese water dog wanders the world in search of the perfect place to live. The stray encounters 10 fellow canines along the way, including a Newfoundland and Russian wolfhound in their homelands, a Shar-Pei at the Great Wall, and a dingo in Australia. None of their habitats suit him. Returning to his old neighborhood, the pooch reads a newspaper headline, "First Family Looks for Dog." He squeezes through the wrought iron gate and trots to the White House entrance, where he sits in front of an open door exposing two pairs of legs. A single line of text reads, "Daddy, Daddy, can we keep him?" The authors slam-dunk the story with an emphatic, "Yes, we can!" A view of the dog sprawled asleep on the Oval Office carpet follows. Bowers's realistic yet comic illustrations blend rich vistas with charming poses and great facial expressions. The endpapers give facts about each breed the pup met along the way. Curiously, a Portuguese water dog is not included. Lewis and his daughter dedicate their book to those in the rescue community and offer ways to help these organizations. This makes one willing to give the authors license and overlook the fact that the Obama dog did not come from a shelter.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Riding the wave of presidential-pooch enthusiasm comes the season's second picture book on the subject. An appealingly scruffy, homeless black mutt scans the newspaper, seeing articles on housing woes and global opportunities, and resolves to try his luck elsewhere. So off he treks by motorcycle, boat and ox-cart to such varied locales as Newfoundland, France, Croatia, Australia, South Africa and Peru, eventually circumnavigating the globe and fetching right back up in the East Coast city he started from. There he reads another newspaper headline-"First Family Looks for Dog"-and trots on over to the White House: "Daddy, Daddy, can we keep him?" ask two little-girl pairs of feet. The inevitable presidential answer: "YES, WE CAN!" Dog's quest is a little muzzy on the logic: He's off to find the "perfect place to live," but at each stop he compares himself to a local breed of dog and decides it's not for him, only occasionally making reference to housing. Not quite as ephemeral as the Feiffers' Which Puppy?, though-at least readers will get some geography. (Picture book. 5-8)

Read More

Product Details

Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
General Reading Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

First Dog 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Story-Weaver More than 1 year ago
Dog isn't the average dog. He's a special, "one of a kind" dog who's looking for a home. Not just any home, mind you, but a perfect home. He's quite unique, well read, despite his present circumstances. He lives near a quite respectable park in a very prestigious part of the city. What he wants and is actively searching for is a perfect family who lives in the perfect home of his dreams. Being an adventuresome sort of creature, Dog decides to travel the world. In search that special home, for Dog knows that a home is a house with a family.of some type. In his travels, he meets several other breeds along the way. In England, he meets an English Bull dog. In France, he admires a Standard French Poodle. He even goes to Russia where the Borzoi calls home. Some of the continents and countries he visits are exotic and beautiful. Some environs are hot and scary to him. The one he likes best is surprising, that's because it's where he's always lived, home! All he needs now is family. Emboldened by the newspapers' continuing headlines about a family's looking for a dog, he wiggles between the barred front gates to the big white house, crosses the expansive lawn, waits and hopes. It's not too long before the front door opens and excited voices of children can be heard. To learn what happens to Dog, you'll need to read this story, delightfully written by J. Patrick Lewis, author of 60 children's books, who has teamed up with his daughter, Beth Zappitello and Tim Bowers, illustrator of 25 books, former Hallmark Card creator. It's a wonderful family book to read out load. The entire family will learn not only about dog breeds, from where they come, and what they were bred to do. Members also see beautiful sights from each country. If you and other family members are observant, someone just might figure out with whom Dog lives. It's a book children will what to look through and to have read to them over and over. If your children are interested in different kinds of dogs, this book would be a good introduction. I've had a difficult time putting the book away. Those little black eyes staring back at me from the front cover, say, " I dare you not to pet me!"."I know lots of others just like me who need and want a home!" Story-Weaver
ARC13 More than 1 year ago
"First Dog" demonstrates adorable illustrations and a great sentimental story. Not only do you get an opportunity to travel the world in this story, but you are introduced to different types of dogs that you may find in these other countries. The reader is hopeful for the dog as he searches for his home. This is a great story for children and dog lovers. "First Dog" will be especially meaningful to those who have adopted a pet as you remember what a charitable decision adoption was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SusanSchenher More than 1 year ago
This book is charming, entertaining, beautifully illustrated and packs a powerful message. I found myself totally caught of guard as I read this tmely book about a dog searing the wide world for his roots and hoping to find his "fit". Not only do we learn about his journey, but really, it's everyone's story. Where do we come from? Who do we look like? Will we be accepted? As I turned the pages, I not only had a smile on my face, but found the story unexpectedly struck a nerve. Coming from a family with adoptions I realized that this is a wonderful story of inclusion and the true meaning of family. Wondering, questioning, sarching, finding acceptance, love and family: while this book can and shold be enjoyed as a lively story of the "First Dog" the underlying message is a clear and lovely reminder of how we are all "adopted": by classmates, friends, co-workers and family. Yes we can: we can all belong. A triumph. Don't miss this book.
SJKessel More than 1 year ago
Lewis, J.P. (2009). First Dog. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press. 1585364673 A dog in need of a home crosses oceans and searches the world until he finds the right place for him, a certain white house in Washington DC. The book even manages to cleverly incorporate the "Yes We Can" slogan. (I was wondering if because of this, Democrats would be more likely to buy the book than Republican teachers and parents. I still can't decide. Thoughts?) And also, since we can't all be given a well-trained dog by a Kennedy, the book includes a note about adopting shelter dogs. It was not by chance that this timely book was published. While Lewis had originally designed a different dog story involving an American mutt looking for its lineage, his editor volunteered him to write about the President's family obtaining a dog. The illustrations of young Dog, a Portuguese water dog look very similar to Bo, the actual First Dog. And no, the illustrator Tim Bowers is not psychic, as I had suspected. He began illustrating the background and putting in a general shape of a dog. When it was announced that the decision was down to a Portuguese water dog or a Labradoodle, he took a chance. He chose to paint a Labradoodle. He finished all of the art and had even scheduled a pick-up. There was a 'stop the presses' moment when a White House insider notified the publisher that the choice would be a Portuguese water dog. Bowers apparently altered all of the art in one night. (Of course, Bowers could still be psychic, but is attempting to remain on the down-low and therefore made up a the above story) And yes, if you were wondering, autographed copies of the book are on the way to the First Family. How do I know all this? I went to Cover to Cover, a children's bookstore in Columbus, OH and got my own copy autographed. Activities to do with the book: Since Dog travels the world, meeting other dogs, First Dog lends itself to a geography lesson and a lecture on the history of different breeds of dogs. The book could also trigger a discussion of strays, adoption and proper dog care. A discussion about foster care or adoption for children, living in the White House or the job of the President could also follow. Plus, a teacher could also focus on the different modes of transportation that Dog must take to travel the world. A teacher could encourage narratives on how students' adopted their own pets or have students create adventures for animals. (As a side note, the first creative story I can remember writing was about a cat held prisoner by bigger cats. I was six) Students could also create family portraits that included animals. Favorite Quotes: "Once upon a time there was a dog that was looking for the perfect place to live." "Daddy, Daddy, can we keep him?" "Yes, we can!" To see more of my reviews, visit