cover image Not My Dog

Not My Dog

Colby F. Rodowsky. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35531-9

Rodowsky (The Turnabout Shop) is right on target expressing how it feels to receive a gift that is not quite right. For three years, eight-year-old Ellie has been dreaming of getting a dog that will ""give puppy kisses"" and ""skid across the floor, his toenails making clicking sounds against the wood."" But her dream misfires when Great-Aunt Margaret has to move into an apartment that won't take her dog, Preston, and Ellie's parents offer to adopt him. Preston looks like Ellie's worst nightmare, ""a sort of square, boring brown dog with sticking-up ears and a skinny tail."" It does not take Ellie long, however, to realize that the pooch has some redeeming qualities: when Ellie gets sick, he stays by her side, and when she gets lost in her friend's neighborhood, he leads her home. Turning her attention to a younger audience, the author writes a genuine, gently humorous and uncomplicated story about compromise and love. Readers will alternately empathize with Ellie, who has to settle for a hand-me-down pet, and Preston, who suffers a bout of homesickness before winning his new owner's affection. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-11. (Mar.)