Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

Lisa Papp. Peachtree, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-910-0
Papp (My Mom’s Wedding) bases this story of a reluctant reader around the real-life use of therapy dogs that serve as a quiet and nonjudgmental audience for those working on becoming more confident readers. Madeline Finn isn’t afraid to let people know that she doesn’t like to read—“Not books. Not magazines. Not even the menu on the ice cream truck”—but she’s also ready to start earning star stickers from her teacher, instead of heart-shaped “Keep Trying” stickers. Papp’s sensitively drafted illustrations do an excellent job of capturing her heroine’s emotions. Frustrated as she tries to read at home, Madeline stares glumly at the books spread out before her, her hands shoved into her reddened cheeks as her mother looks on worriedly; later, reading to a fluffy white dog named Bonnie at the library, Madeline’s body language relaxes noticeably (“It’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes”). It’s a warm, encouraging story that suggests that perfection isn’t necessary in order to achieve one’s goals, and that help can be found in unexpected corners. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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