“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dog Who Belonged to No One • Picture Book

The Dog Who Belonged to No One<
by Amy Hest • Illustrated by Amy Bates
September 2008 • Abrams Books for Young Readers • Picture Book
A timeless tale of friendship by New York Times bestselling author Amy Hest!
Story: No one takes notice of a small dog with crooked ears who doesn’t have a home. He explores the narrow streets and wide boulevards every day, while across town a little girl named Lia pedals on her bicycle alone, delivering breads and cakes. Both dream of finding a friend, until fate brings them together.
Story behind the story: Amy Hest, multi-time winner of the Christopher Medal, says that “the dog in this story reminds me a lot of a dog I know called Billy. They both try SO hard. They both mean SO well. And in the end, they both want to be loved SO much.” The love-fest for Hest’s and Bates’ timeless characters is beginning thanks to starred reviews in both Booklist (“…the lesson, that you may not know you’re missing something until you find it, makes this simple and eloquent story especially suitable for children who hold out hope for the day when that perfect dog will cross their paths and warm their own homes") and School Library Journal (“Lia in her blue dress, pinafore, and jaunty cap and the bright-eyed little dog evoke tender sympathy.”).
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it and be sure to come back as there are more to come!


Donna Edwards, Media Specialist said...

This is a perfect read-a-loud story. Illustrator and author have collaborated brilliantly to create a composition on paper that could be a musical on film. The words are fluid and flow easily as you read, while old time pictures move to keep up with the text. When I look at the faces in the pictures done with pencil and watercolor, they are detailed and expressive. Together with the text, Hest and Bates create mood that will capture your heart.

A little dog with crooked ears and a little girl named Lia, who lives in a crooked house are both looking for a friend. They both travel everywhere looking but have no luck. You feel sympathy for the dog when he runs from the night, or a storm. At the same time, in the same town, Lia tries to out run the storm and the night to get to the safety of her crooked house.

I would use this book for readers workshop when discussing authors’ craft. Hest uses repetition of words, “Run, run, run,” to show motion. She also uses repetition with entire phrases and sentences as they get closer to discovering each other at Lia’s crooked house. Descriptive language makes this a perfect choice for teaching elaboration.

What a wonderful story about loneliness and finding friendship when you least expect it. This would be an appropriate read aloud for K-4 and read alone at any age. An adorable and touching story of loneliness and finding a friend. I strongly recommend The Dog Who Belonged to No One.
Rating *****(5)

Donna Edwards
Media Specialist
Pembroke Elementary School
Danbury, CT 06810

Amanda Ziegler said...

As the parallel stories of Lia, "a wisp of a girl" and the little dog with crooked ears draw closer and closer to one another, the reader becomes more and more anxious for both of them.

The pictures are soothing and detailed, and the perfectly paced text draws readers in until they are in love with both Lia and the crooked eared dog. The conclusion of the story is immensely satisfying. The illustrations are as endearing as the main characters. A definite hit for story hour!

Amanda Ziegler
Youth Librarian
Wichita Falls Public Library
Wichita Falls, TX

Tina Ristau, Elementary Media Specialist said...

This cute picture book has been read and re-read at my home several times since I received it in the mail. The Dog Who Belonged to No One is the touching story about an only child, the daughter of two bakers, and a dog who does not have an owner. Both girl and dog are lonely, looking for love and companionship. When they finally meet each other they have someone else to whom they can belong. While reading this book aloud my daughter exclaimed loudly over the dog's loneliness, seeing a resolution quickly by having the dog and girl meet up. Her involvement in the story and concern for the dog are two reactions many children will have when they hear this beautiful book by Amy Hest.
Rating: 4 stars
-- Tina Ristau, Elementary Media Specialist, Irving Elementary, Waterloo, IA

Beckyb said...

This is a precious book that you need to know is out there! Amy Hest's The Dog Who Belonged to No One is a wonderful story of a lonely dog and a lonely little girl, Lia. I am always drawn to stories of dogs and this one is no exception. The illustrations also make this book so endearing - Amy Bates - has "superbly" illustrated this one, and it makes you want to cuddle the pup and give Lia a hug. Hest and Bates have both captured the love one can have for a pet and THAT is what makes this book wonderful!!

Becky Bilby, Youth Services Librarian Orange City, Iowa

Brannin said...

Amy Hest does a wonderful job telling the story of two lonely characters who find each other. I really enjoyed the way she told their stories separately and combined them at the end.

Amy Bates illustrations are warm and thoughtfully drawn. I appreciated some of the small details such has having paw prints around the text for the dog and flowers and/or wheels around the text for Lia. At the end she combined paw prints and flowers to help illustrate their friendship.

The story is sweet and easy to read. I am going to use this as a read-a-loud to my students when we cover the unit on friendship.

Brannin Dorsey
Kindergarten Teacher
Parkmont Elementary
Fremont, CA

Andrea said...

The warm illustrations invite you into this story of “a wisp of a girl” and “a small dog with crooked ears”. As you read their parallel stories you hope they will become one as they are each longing for a friend. Expressive words and illustrations carry the story and make it great for one-on-one sharing or a read aloud.

Rating: 4
Recommend without Reservation

Andrea L. Pavlik
Youth & Parent Services Librarian
Huntington Public Library
Huntington, NY 11743

Angie said...

This is a charming story about a small girl, a small dog, and all their struggles and experiences before they finally find each other. Words flow across the page, asking to be read aloud with careful attention to feeling and expression. Certain simple phrases are repeated, noting similarities between the girl and the dog before they ever meet.

This friendship story would be enough to draw in readers on its own, but the illustrations were really my favorite part of the reading experience. I saw the scraggly little mutt on the cover and I wanted to take him home. He's soft and fuzzy and so lonely until he finally finds Lia.
The muted autumn gold color palette lends to a feeling of warmth through the story.

This is a recommendation without reservation to your picnic basket! I cannot wait to share it with my students.

Angie O.
Teacher Librarian
San Antonio, Texas

LifeLongLearner said...

Since animal stories rank in the top three for engaging elementary readers, "The Dog Who Belonged to No One" is a perfect choice. The other top two engaging topics according to recent University of Virginia research are books with humor and wierd/gross topics.

Back to this precious dog story, the illustrations pair with the text for a win/win combination.

Look forward to circulating this book in our brand new school library at Cub Run Elementary School (PreK-5 560 students) which is part of Rockingham County Public Schools.

Margo Jantzi
Library Media Specialist

Jennifer Samec said...

I first shared this book with my Kindergarten students after a very rainy day. We had all been drenched on our way out of school the day before. The scene in which the dog and Lia get soaked was a source for a strong text-to-self connection for the students.

This is a delightful read-aloud. It's a story that begs for long pauses to look at the illustrations and make predictions. It doesn't take students long to see that Lia and the dog really do need to end up together. When this does happen, there's a sense of relief and satisfaction.

The illustrations are truly beautiful. The dog is completely adorable and the cover draws you in. The repetition of the phrase "the dog who belonged to no one" is something my students picked up on right away - not as a line for choral reading, but as a repetive play on our empathy.

I would rate this book a 5. It is one that is a joy to read again and again.

-Jennifer Samec, Media Specialist
Birchview Elementary School, Plymouth, MN