Intrigued by the unfamiliar filthy dog trotting through their yards one summer day, young neighbors Sam and Katie set out to learn more about the stray and, they hope, persuade their parents to let them keep it. After seeing their neighbors treat the dog badly—the grumpy, gardening Wilson sisters shoo it away from their flower beds, and mean kids Michael and Madison Tracey throw rocks at it—the friends are eager to help. But they feel guilty after making their own inconsiderate choice, painting a blue daisy on the pup’s back, and worry about their chances of winning the dog’s affection. Alternating chapters in differing styles, poetry for Sam and prose for Katie, help to convey how each character communicates; Sam seems restrained alongside Katie’s constant clip. Apologies offer weight in this slim volume by Frost (Applesauce Weather
), and result in a more generous view of neighbors and a realization that even kind people can make mistakes. Black-and-white illustrations by Shepperson (Can I Just Take a Nap?
) portray the neighborhood and its mostly white inhabitants; two accompanying recipes, inspired by a baking neighbor, conclude. Ages 7–10. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)