From the creator of Blue's Clues...Discovering that sometimes you have to be a little bad to be very good, Tako the puppy makes a brave choice in this adventure tale and proves that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. When 8-year-old Ricky Lee finds a puppy on the side of the road, he takes him home and names him Tako. Ricky’s mom and dad agree to let Tako stay under one condition: he must be a good dog who always follows the rules—or it’s off to the pound he goes. Tako wants more than anything to be a good dog and stay with Ricky, but when the Lees open Happy Family Bakery and a competing store owner sets out to sabotage the shop, Tako has to break the rules to protect Ricky and his family.
About the Author
Todd Kessler is the cocreator of the highly successful children’s television series Blue’s Clues. His artistic and innovative creations have garnered him the Peabody Award, seven Emmy nominations, two Television Critics Association awards, five Parent’s Choice awards, first place in the children’s division of the Toronto International Film Festival, and a New York Film Festival Cine Golden Eagle. He lives in Los Angeles. Jennifer Gray Olson is an illustrator who enjoys creating funny and offbeat characters. She is the author and illustrator of Ninja Bunny. She lives in Corona, California.
Read an Excerpt
The little puppy was curled up in a box by the side of the road. He was cold and afraid. A boy on a bike came zooming down the hill and ran into the box. "You look like you need a home," said the boy, "and I need a puppy. It's good luck that I crashed into you!" The boy put the puppy inside his jacket and rode home. The wind whipped in the puppy’s face as he peeked out. They were going so fast! But the puppy wasn’t afraid anymore. He felt warm and safe close to the boy. The boy’s name was Ricky Lee. His mother Mimi Lee looked sternly at the puppy. “If he’s a good dog, he can stay,” she said. “But if he’s a bad dog, he will go to the dog pound.” “The pound is where bad dogs go when nobody wants them anymore,” explained Ricky’s father Papi Lee. "He will be a good dog,” Ricky promised. “I’m going to call him Tako.” Papi Lee gave Tako a piece of warm smushberry muffin right from the oven. It was the most delicious thing Tako had ever tasted. As he munched on the muffin, Tako decided he would be a good dog, so he could stay with the Lee family forever. But it wasn’t always easy to be a good dog. Sometimes Tako found a slipper that needed chewing—or honey-butter batter that needed licking—or a clothesline that needed tugging. And sometimes on rainy days Ricky became a monster, and Tako needed to bark at him, which woke the twins Mia and Lia from their nap. Then Mimi and Papi Lee would say, “Bad dog!” And Tako would get very still and quiet because he did not want to be sent to the pound.
What People are Saying About This
This heroic canine adventure is a powerful testament to the incredible human-animal bond. Readers of all ages will delight in discovering the tale of Tako and Ricky and will find themselves inspired by their triumphant friendship.
Children and adults alike will enjoy cheering for little Tako, a dog who reminds us that sometimes the "bad" dogs turn out to be the best -- if we believe in them and listen closely.
Everyone likes a good story. You have to think for yourself. Taking risks is scary but can have a big payoff.
These common sense statements are at the heart of a new children's book, The Good Dog (Greenleaf Book Group Press). They are also central to its author, Todd Kessler, a creator of the game-changing children's television show Blue's Clues.
Kessler said he hopes that Good Dog will have the same kind of transformative effect on children's books, literacy and our concept of their understanding and learning abilities that Blue's Clues did for children's television.
“The original concept of kids as TV viewers … hugely underestimated kids' ability to understand,” said Dan Anderson, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst whose pioneering research on children and media was part of the basis for the innovations in Blue's Clues. “In various kinds of industries that deal with kids, very often they'll base things on what's been recently successful and not on principled ideas of what kids want and can understand.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book and have already read it to my grandson. Ricky Lee was out riding his bike one day and bumped into a box. When he looked inside, he discovered a tiny puppy that had been abandoned. He scooped him up, tucked him inside his jacket and rode home, hoping his parents would let him keep the tiny puppy. His parents agreed that he could keep the puppy with one condition, he had to be good. Ricky named him Tako and he loved him. Tako was so happy and grateful because now he had a family that loved him and that would take care of him. As we all know, it is hard to be good all the time when there are such interesting things around to distract you and tempt you, especially when you are young, whether you are a child or a puppy. The Lee family moved when they bought a family bakery in the heart of their town. The only bakery that had been in the town was Pritchard's Bakery and the baked goods were not very good, they were stale and crusty. The Lee's baked goods were fresh and delicious and everyone in the town started to go to "The Family Bakery" instead of Pritchard's. Unfortunately for the Lees, Mr. Prichard was a mean greedy man and he was not happy about the competition. He decided to sabatoge the Lee's Bakery. He would sneak in at night and let loose a variety of insects and vermin. When the Lee's business was going down the tubes, Tako heard a noise downstairs and went down to investigate. He saw a man sneaking out of the store and he chased him. He went out of the store and all around the town until he lost sight of the man and then realized that he was lost. He also realized that he was not supposed to leave the store so was now doing something bad. Would the decision to try and save "The Family Bakery" cost him the home and family that he so desired? Would the Lee family be able to save their bakery? Would Mr. Pritchard get caught? As the end of the book says, sometimes you have to be bad to be good. You will be cheering this little guy on and very delighted with the outcome. The illustrations are delightful and the story is interesting to appeal to children and the adults reading to him. I know I will read this book over and over to my grandson. He loves dogs and enjoyed the story and the pictures. I received a hard cover edition of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review. As an adult, I really enjoyed this book. The story is thoughtful and has a great message. The illustrations are adorable. I appreciate that it features a family who is not white (sorry, I can't think of the "politically correct" way to say that). As an educator, I believe it is important that (1) children see books that highlight other cultures and ethnicities and (2) that children see people who look like them in books in positive portrayals. This book definitely fits that. For especially young children (3-6), I don't think they will grasp all of the messages in this book. They will cheer for Tako and recognize the villain for being a bad guy. It certainly opens the door to discussions on how a community can support each other for younger students and for older students can delve into simple economics.