by Sharon P Stanley
Deidre Carr, illustrator
Silver Tongue Press
Website: Little Dog does NOT want to be left at home with Mrs. Thistleberry while his person goes away. He escapes through the fence and begins a search for his person that will take him far from home. But the world is a big place for a little dog. A charming tale for anyone who has ever lost – or found – a dog.
Opening: “Once there was a little dog that lived with a pleasant person in a peasant house on a peasant street.”
The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road is a charming short story about a determined little dog who cannot stand being away from his person. “Mom” is going away for a few days and Little Dog is to stay in the backyard. To Little Dog, it does not matter how long she is gone, any amount of time is a long time. I love the illustration of Little Dog hanging his head. He’d just been told his person was leaving for a while. This one illustration shows us he will not be staying put, as told.
Another clue is the neighbor trusted to deliver meals to Little Dog. He knows this woman does not like little dogs. He will get his meals, but no companionship, no games, no throwing a ball, or playing chase. Just his meals. If his person never makes it home . . . Little Dog panics. He must find his person. This is an extreme case of separation anxiety.
Little Dog takes off to look for his person. He walks all day until his legs ached, yet he does not find her. He does wise up, just a bit too late. Little Dog realizes he should have stayed in the yard as told. Problem is he’s lost. So Little Dog sits down in the middle of the road. He is trying to let his person find him. She never drove by, but a girl a red truck did. She takes Little Dog home, feeds him, and gives him a comfortable bed where he falls fast asleep.
The next day, the girl with the red truck tells Little Dog she must leave for a while. Little Dog is to stay in the garage until she returns. Little Dog once again panics, thinking he will never see his person and she will not be able to find him. Little Dog is in a new area and is lost with no idea which way to walk. Little Dog does the only thing he can think of that will work: he sits in the middle of the road. Little Dog is sure his person will drive down the road and find him.
The illustrations are nicely drawn. They also contain a surprise for adventurous readers. One item appears in each illustration. Can you find it? What is it? I thought it was a favorite dog toy. It’s not a toy. I do know this item represents the author’s own little dog. This “find it” treat is not the only small detail that shows the illustrator’s creativity. Check out the dog’s ears. The ears are the Little Dog’s most expressive feature. In one illustration the girl’s hand could be touching Little Dog’s ears, if he had not tilted his head away from the girl’s hand. Little Dog’s person is more important than a scratch behind the ears.
One thing I did not like, and I have seen in several other books, is an illustration repeated. The two images of Little Dog sitting in the middle of the road are identical. Sure, the situation is the same, but the scene is not. Maybe I am nitpicking, but I simply do not like repeated illustrations. Adding one other detail would have distinguished the two scenes.
In the end, Mom comes to get Little Dog. I am glad he got back home, but how did the girl know his person was coming to get him? I would have liked more of an ending and the story deserves a better ending. Kids will love the story of Little Dog and may not mind or notice the sudden ending. They will be overjoyed Little Dog is going home, to his own bed and with his own person. I must admit, I was happy for the cutie, too. The story of Little Dog is perfect for young children. It is short enough to fit their attention spans, has some repetitions they will soon recite, and Little Dog’s situation is relatable. The writing is good and well-timed. The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road makes a wonderful story time or bedtime story.
Deidre Carr, illustrator linkedin
Released November 3, 2013
Age 4 to 8
THE LITTLE DOG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Tex copyright © 2013 by Sharon P. Stanley. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Deidre Carr. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Silver Tongue Press.
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