Sassafrass Jones and the Search for a Forever Home
Photographs of dioramas featuring tiny stuffed animals, toys, and miniatures from the author's collection anchor this story, which was inspired by an actual dog. Sassafrass is a Pekingese with an eye condition that requires her to wear glasses. The other creatures at the animal adoption center taunt her for her appearance, and Sassafrass is discouraged because, year after year, no one adopts her. Her luck changes when she finds a "forever home" with a young mouse named Madeline. She makes Sassafrass a hat to protect her eyes from the sun and enters a gingerbread-house-making contest to win a trip to New York City and get Sassafrass reparative surgery. Superfluous minutia causes the story to drag, and between Sassafrass's adoption, Madeline's millinery successes, and the gingerbread-house contest, there's enough material for several books; the text itself sometimes has to be crammed into the pages in order to fit. The real draw is in the lovingly detailed photo vignettes. A CD of B-52s musician Fred Schneider reading the story accompanies the book, some proceeds of which benefit animal-rescue charities. Ages 6–12.