Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fur-Ever Home? Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Dear People in the Yellow House:

Can I be your dog?

I am potty-trained and I have my own squeaky bone. I love to play! I see that you have a cat. I'm willing to work with you.

Whoooo's a good dog? I AM!


P.S.: I know every house on Butternut Street, but I asked you

Arfy needs a person. It's lonely in his chilly, leaky cardboard box in the alley, so he takes pen in paw and writes a proper application letter, carefully including his resume' and paw print.

But the Honeywells in the yellow house respond by return post with their regrets, saying that their cat is, er, allergic to dogs.

Resolutely, Arfy forges on. The butcher shop on Butternut Street looks like a great possibility with tasty perks. But Arfy's application is refused posthaste. Butcher Veronica Shank is adamant.

"The last time I let a dog into my shop a dozen meatballs went missing!"

Scratch that! Fire Station #5 looks like a possibility for the position of fire dog, and Arfy already has a certain affinity for fire plugs. But the fire chief fires back a quick form letter, addressed to APPLICANT....


Prospects for adoption are looking poor. Arfy is down the unenviable position of junk yard dog, not the highest status for pet placement. And the junk yard manager's reply is RRRROUGH!

Dear Mutt: GET LOST!

The one remaining house on Butternut Street is a somewhat of a derelict, unpainted, falling apart, and not a little smelly. Arfy's letter points out that he is not picky, but the mail lady seems rueful when she brings Arfy's letter back to his soggy address, stamped RETURN TO SENDER.

But the kindly letter carrier lady, who has dutifully delivered all of Arfy's letters and their replies, has her own letter for Arfy, offering him a permanent place with her, RAIN, SNOW, OR SLEET, in Troy Cumming's top-seller tale of a proactive homeless pup, Can I Be Your Dog? (Random House, 2018). In a funny and heartfelt story of a persevering pooch, author-illustrator Cummings' story, endearingly illustrated and cleverly written in epistolary style, has both humor and pathos, with a well-foreshadowed ending that will leave young readers both moved and joyful as Arfy finally finds his own forever home. Says School Library Journal, "No bones about it; this humorous picture book will be a hit with storytime audiences and emergent readers."

For his animal advocate readers, author Cummings helpfully adds an appendix, "How to Help a Homeless Animal."

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