cover image Trouper


Meg Kearney, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-10041-0

The premise of Kearney’s (The Girl in the Mirror) story of canine adoption is moving in itself; that it’s based on her own rescue of a black Lab only amplifies its poignancy. An introductory note explains the story of the real Trouper, a Puerto Rican street dog rescued by the owners of an animal shelter, who arranged to have his mangled leg amputated and then put him up for adoption. The fictional Trouper (who already has only three legs) narrates his version of events in verse, telling his young owner about “the before time” when he “ran with a mob of mutts.” After a dogcatcher captures the strays and locks them in cages at the pound, Trouper’s pals are adopted one by one, until he is the only dog left (“My heart was a cold, starless night—/ until your face/ shone through the bars/ like a mini sun”). Caldecott Honor illustrator Lewis (Coming on Home Soon) used Kearney’s pet as a model for his lifelike watercolor portraits, which provide a sure sense of the dog’s indefatigable spirit. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Dwyer & O’Grady. (Nov.)