August 02, 2016
Lucy is a small dog without a home. She had one once, but she remembers it only in her dreams. Eleanor is a little girl who looks forward to feeding the stray dog that appears faithfully beneath her window each day. Eleanor’s father is a juggler with stage fright. The overlapping stories of three delightful characters, offering a slightly different perspective each time, come together in a truly original, beautifully illustrated book for dog (and underdog) lovers of all ages.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This is an unusually formatted book. It is essentially a picture book, in that each page has an illustration and two or three sentences of text. It is also 144 pages long. This makes it reminiscent of some older books, like Godden's The Story of Holly and Ivy (illustrated by Adrienne Adams, not the one illustrated by Barbara Cooney) or Heide's The Shrinking of Treehorn. The black and white line illustrations are even somewhat similar, although because of those books I was expecting small pops of red in the scenes, and those never appeared! The length makes it possible to give us several days of Lucy's life, which have a pleasant and predictable rhythm, which makes the change in that rhythm all the more surprising.
This is a book about longing. Lucy longs for a home, Eleanor longs for a dog, and her father longs for a career as a juggler. They all want something different, which makes this achingly bittersweet. I don't know if this will be readily apparent to the average six year old reader, but parents and teachers will certainly pick up on the theme of shattered dreams. This theme might well make this book one that resonates on a deep level with children. I foresee a lot of web searches in 30 years for "that long picture book with the little white dog and the father who juggled snow globes"!
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