#162 – The Stray Dog: From a True Story by Reiko Sassa by Marc Simont

5 Stars
The Stray Dog
Marc Simont
HarperCollins Children's Books

No. Pgs. 32 ….. Ages 4 and up

Inside Jacket: When a little dog appears at a family picnic, the girl and boy play with him all afternoon, and they name him Willy.  At day’s end they say good-bye. But the dog has won their hearts and stays on their minds. The following Saturday the family returns to the picnic grounds to look for Willy, but they are not alone—the dogcatcher is looking for him too.

A stray dog wanders in on a family’s picnic. Mom thinks he looks hungry. The kids feed, name, and play with the dog until it is time to leave. The son wants to take him home but dad refuses, saying Willy belongs to someone. His daughter is not convinced.

………..Maybe Willy doesn’t belong to anybody.

All week, each member of the family becomes preoccupied with thoughts of Willy.  The next Saturday they return to the park and try to find Willy. The dog runs past the family while running from the dog warden. The dog warden gets Willy into his net, but the kids claim Willy as theirs. The dog warden doesn’t believe the kids.

……………He has no collar. He has no leash.

……This dog is a stray. He doesn’t belong to anybody.

I like The Stray Dog because it mildly brings up the leash requirement that is now law almost everywhere.  Mostly, I love this book for the illustrations, also drawn by the author, Marc Simont.

Mr. Simont’s drawings can tell the story without the text.  His attention to detail is fantastic. I love details. When the boy removes his belt, his shorts pop down and he grabs them. As the  kids play with their new pet, he is still holding up his pants.  Even with both hands holding tightly, the shorts sag a little.

The neighborhood dogs are drawn with breed-specific features, along with their distinguishing owners. If it is true that an owner and their pet eventually look alike, Mr. Simont’s illustrations are spot on.

Each spread in The Stray Dog has little details that make the illustrations some of the best I have seen since I began reviewing picture books.

Kids will enjoy Willy’s story and will heartedly cheer on Willy as he tries to outrun the dog warden, who is in his full dog warden outfit. The attention to detail does not stop with those examples.

The Stray Dog is a Caldecott Honor Book. If you are a collector of wonderfully illustrated picture books, The Stray Dog is a must have.

Could a stray dog take over your heart?  Please tell your story. 

The Stray Dog       

Author/Illustrator: Marc Simont   bio
Publisher: HarperCollins   website
Publication Date: May 27, 2003
ISBN: 978-0-0644-3669-4
Number of Pages: 32  activity guide pdf
Ages: 4+


4 thoughts on “#162 – The Stray Dog: From a True Story by Reiko Sassa by Marc Simont

    • Eric, it is nice to see you survived camping. I understand you had your nose in several, maybe 8, books that week. This could have been one AND Josie enjoys, unless you do not like dogs, or are a cat person.

      Thanks for stopping by so soon after your return. I bet you are busy.


If you like this post ... Why?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.