A little girl's dream comes true -- twice -- in this outstanding picture book from gifted author/illustrator Bob Graham. After her cat, Tiger, dies, Kate needs another companion to love, someone to keep her feet warm at night. "Let's get a pup!" she proclaims as she bounces in bed with Mom and Dad. The young parents are quite cool with the idea and scan the papers until they find a Rescue Center. There they find a wide assortment of pooches: "sniffers, sleepers...fighters and biters...happy dogs, sad dogs." And then they see Dave. Dave is perfect -- small, cute, and brand-new. Content to leave with the new member of the family, they spot another dog, Rosy, who is old and gray and can barely stand up. But, as Graham so beautifully states, "she radiated Good Intention." Now they want Rosy too, but they can't save every dog, right? So, they reluctantly leave. That night the family can barely sleep, and only due in part to Dave's crying. They know what they have to do -- they go to the shelter and get Rosy.
Graham uses pen-and-ink and watercolor to reveal the close-knit and very hip family. With Mom's tattoo and nose ring, and Dad's ear-pierced, funky look, this parental duo reflects the times. And their house, filled with the tiny details that make up our lives, makes for cozy reading. Uneaten toast on the counter, with shoes and toys strewn on the floor, will be familiar to young readers who don't have Donna Reed as a mother. Graham's signature watercolors are a perfect match for this easygoing and loving group. The text also complements the pace of the story. When they see their new pup, the name "Dave" is in bold, and is the only word on the page. And when they leave Rosy behind, white space and a minimum of words convey their heartbreaking decision.
With expert storytelling and humorously endearing illustrations, Graham once again creates a loving family with unconventional folks. Their love of pups, and each other, is sure to tug at the heartstrings of every young reader. (Amy Barkat)