""It was a cold, wet morning. Dr. White dashed to the hospital. He was late,"" begins this affectionate tale starring a true hero to many children in critical condition. Litty (Lumina) carefully disguises the doctor's identity in her illustrations while casting out a few subtle clues. After showing a glimpse of a white tail and a canine-shaped shadow, she reveals the ""doctor"" as a small, white, shaggy dog who makes his rounds in the children's ward. Dr. White dispenses his time-proven medicine--cuddling, licking hands and thumping his tail on his patients' beds--and is credited for the recovery of many children. Basing her story on a valiant dog with a high success rate at a London hospital, Goodall (With Love) creates tension in the tale with the introduction of an ornery health inspector who evicts Dr. White from the hospital--until his own daughter's illness calls for drastic measures, and the staff secretly reinstates the pooch. Goodall's matter-of-fact text serves as the perfect foil for the dog's seemingly magical ability to heal, and her subject is timely. Against a predominance of hospital white, Litty's watercolor close-up portraits offer a warm contrast with a full range of human (as well as canine) expressions. If there are any skeptics out there who question the benefits of pet-assisted therapy, this book may well make believers of them. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999 Release date: 02/01/1999 Genre: Children's
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