Puppy Love: The Story of Esme and Sam

Overview

Rhyming text and soft, colorful illustrations will take you on a city love adventure! When Esme finds herself lost in the park, she is in completely new territory. Not used to the frightful and dark night, Esme has never been outside the posh home of her owner?s penthouse. Sam, a city dog whose home is the streets, comes to her rescue. They walk around the city all night long until a love starts to grow. When Sam brings Esme back to her owner, they think they will be separated forever. But will their love ...

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Overview

Rhyming text and soft, colorful illustrations will take you on a city love adventure! When Esme finds herself lost in the park, she is in completely new territory. Not used to the frightful and dark night, Esme has never been outside the posh home of her owner’s penthouse. Sam, a city dog whose home is the streets, comes to her rescue. They walk around the city all night long until a love starts to grow. When Sam brings Esme back to her owner, they think they will be separated forever. But will their love survive?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A pampered poodle runs away from her high society owner and meets up with a scrappy stray mutt who knows the city like the back of his paw and becomes the love of her life. While Disney doesn't have a lock on that idea, Shields and Harbour, who previously collaborated on The Starlight Baby, must have known Lady and the Tramp would serve as a benchmark—and sadly, this book doesn't offer much competition. The story is long on biography and romance and short on adventure—as Shields puts it during Esme and Sam's moonlit stroll through the park, “They walked and they talked, and a sweet night bird sang./ They talked and they walked, as the old church bell rang.” While Harbour's visual refinement and vintage sensibility fits the world of penthouse poodle Esme, she seems at a loss for conveying the streetwise brio and outsider existence of Sam. The Manhattan scenery provides ample inspiration for Harbour's skills and versatility as a colorist, but the renderings have a generic feel and do little to convey a night of life-changing adventure. Ages 4–8. (July)
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Esme Lamour is a pampered pup that lives in a penthouse, eats crab and chicken, and sleeps on satins and lace. One day, in the park, she breaks free of her leash and runs away from Mrs. B. Goldstein. At first she relishes her freedom but when darkness falls, Esme is frightened. Enter Samuel Bloom a dog that lives in a crowded tenement, eats only scraps, and sleeps wherever he can find space. Samuel knows the city well and through the night he strolls with Esme taking her at last to her own front door. There they pledge their true love. Back home without her Samuel, Esme is unhappy and this time she runs away to find him even if it takes her through some very rough neighborhoods. At last the two are together living with Mrs. B. Goldstein and their five little puppies. Reminiscent of Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" this is a predictable story that lacks tension and excitement. The soft pastels do justice to Esme's posh life style but do not effectively convey Samuel's more humble surroundings. There is not a lot of originality here but it does satisfy the need for happy dog stories, if such a need exists. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Lady and the Tramp, anyone? Esme Lamour is a much-loved poodle who becomes lost in the park and is rescued by a rough-around-the-edges New York mutt named Samuel Bloom. They fall in love on the meandering trip back uptown. Briefly separated by Esme's owner's prejudices, the poodle braves the mean streets to reunite with Bloom. Her owner is won over, and the pair live happily ever after. Shields's stilted and overworked rhymes end with one that epitomizes the work: "And with her walk Esme, and Samuel Bloom,/Plus five little puppies, as round as the moon." Round as the moon? Harbour's gently washed illustrations evoke the New York of yesteryear. Neither story nor art is strong enough to overcome the worn material.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Esme Lamour lives in a penthouse on a soft bed, while Samuel Bloom lives in a crowded tenement. Esme dines on gourmet food and Samuel eats leftovers. Their lives are totally different. But one evening, when Esme gets lost in the park, Samuel comes to her rescue and they fall in love. They find a way to be together, in the penthouse of course, and happiness ensues. But there's a charming twist: Esme and Samuel are dogs. Although there is never a direct reference, Shields seems to have channeled Lady and the Tramp and moved it to the Big Apple, in a low-key, loving homage. Carefully crafted, image-filled phrases in snappy, fast-paced verse that employs simple rhymes in aabb form keep the action moving. Harbour's timeless New York is aglow in soft, gauzy pastels as the canines experience Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and the diverse ethnic neighborhoods. It all hits just the right note of sweetness without being overly sentimental or cloying. A charmer. (Picture book. 4-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416980100
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/7/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gillian Shields was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. She has authored many picture books, including Dogfish and The Perfect Bear. She lives with her husband and family in England. Elizabeth Harbour works as an artist, an illustrator, and a printmaker. Her debut children’s book was A First Picture Book of Nursery Rhymes. Elizabeth lives in South London with her husband and two young children.

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