I Want a Dog

Jon Agee. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-55546-9
In this story by Agee (The Wall in the Middle of the Book), a child visits the Happydale Animal Shelter and asks for a dog. The tall, skinny man who runs the shelter presses her to accept an armadillo, or maybe an anteater. “How about this baby baboon? It doesn’t go woof, but it chases a ball, just like a dog!” The girl, who has brown skin and wears a bright yellow dress, isn’t interested. “I don’t want a baby baboon,” she says. A python? A frog? A tail-up goldfish? Her words appear just above her head against a blank wall and hang in the air with finality: “Mister, that goldfish is not playing dead.” Somehow, the two reach a compromise. He asks why a dog is so important, and she leaves with a fine pet, indeed (“loyal, loving, smart, cuddly, goofy”—the works). Reversed expectations give this story its laughs—the child dominating the exchange, her lack of interest in the myriad offers. Agee’s cartoon drawings of the hapless animals are winning, but it’s the child’s implacable resolve that sees the story through. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/03/2019
Release date: 09/24/2019
Genre: Children's
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