Murphy's Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-Rudman
Murphy, the Tibetan Terrier, is supposed to be a "good luck" dog but starts feeling like a "bad luck" dog when every home he goes to turns out to be temporary. Written as an allegory for children in foster care or adoptive homes, the illustrations of the shaggy black and white pup are appealing and will help children identify with Murphy's situation. Murphy tries to be "good" enough so each family will keep him, but, something always goes wrong. His confusion at certain points mirrors the confusion a child would feel. For example, when his family has a party and he is left in the bathroom Murphy believes they are screening a new family for him, so he panics and runs away. Finally, he gives up trying to be good but finds a beautiful, "forever" home filled with unconditional love where he flourishes. The author, Jan Levinson Gilman, Ph. D., provides a three-page "Note to Caregivers and Other Adults" with extensive information on using the book as a tool to explore feelings and concerns that foster or foster-adopt children may be experiencing. Reviewer: Debra Lampert-Rudman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Murphy is a puppy that blatantly represents a child in foster care. He is a Tibetan Terrier, a dog that is supposed to bring good luck, but when he is moved from home to home, he assumes that it is his fault and that other pups must be "good luck dogs." When the humans from his third home love him even when he disobeys the rules, he moves beyond his insecurity and realizes that he was wrong to think of himself as bad luck. Murphy's understanding of the human world is inconsistent from scene to scene. The denouement, for example, hinges on his fear of what he describes as a large, noisy gathering at his home. Without any interim explanation, however, he is impressed that his owner "left her party" to look for him. The oversimplification of the adjustment to a loving home does foster children a disservice. The writing is average, at best, with some noticeably stilted phrases, and is accompanied by rather static illustrations that range from spot art to full-page pictures. A lengthy note to caregivers follows the story, which could be useful to adults who are new to foster children's unique psychological needs. However, for children who need books on this topic, recommend Janell Cannon's Stellaluna (Houghton, 1993), especially if the child's permanency plan calls for a return home.—Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433803857
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 11/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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