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Posted November 17, 2013
One of my favorite quotes comes from St. Exupery's The Little Prince: It is only with the heart the one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. That quote sums up perfectly the spirit of Sally Lee's The Dog Show.
I have three cats, all beautiful, all foundlings or strays. Even though they are all beautiful now, if I were honest, I would have to admit that none of them was beautiful when I first found him or her (or he or she found me). They are beautiful because I love them. Because they are important to me. Because they are well-cared for. And because my five-year-old son call them his brother and sisters. Harry, the dog in this story, also is beautiful and for most of the same reasons.
The Dog Show does not stray into preachy territory. It delights with a story as colorful and bright and the wonderful accompanying illustrations. But it is still easy for a child to grasp the concept of this book.
My other favorite quote from The Little Prince: It is time that you spend with your rose that makes your rose so important. That quote also applies to this modern fable.
Posted October 15, 2012
If you were a dog, what would you want more than anything else? Harry, and his master Billy Brown, want to win the local dog show. But they have some stiff competition. Mrs. Moneybags’s dog Mr. Puddles is a purebred and comes from the fanciest breeder around. Mr. Mango’s dog Bradley is the most expensive dog of his litter. The Parkhurst twins’ dog Lovely has everyone gasping at her grace and style. And Mr. and Mrs. Hightower’s dog Bobo can sit and roll over and fetch things. You see, Billy adopted Harry from an animal shelter, and no one really knows what kind of dog he is. All the others look down on Harry and make unkind remarks about him. Billy almost decides not to enter him, but he has had a dream about Harry’s winning the dog show. So, what will he do? And which dog will win?
Of course, we should be kind to animals and not mistreat them, but the message of this story is about so much more than just that. We ought to be nice to other people and not hurt them too. Almost like a parable, author and illustrator Sally O. Lee, whose other books include The Carrot King; A Cat’s Alphabet Book; Is There a Monster Over There?; No, Never; The Tutu Ballet; and The Rabbit and the Snowman, combines a sympathetic text with her characteristicly appealing, full-color drawings to weave an endearing tale about fairness, kindness, and perseverance in following your dreams. An additional benefit of the book might be in encouraging children to consider adopting a pet from an animal shelter. I give The Dog Show two thumbs up!