cover image Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Jon Katz, Holt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9219-6

In Katz's first book for children, illustrated with lively photos, the author explains how the four dogs (which have been the subject of several bestselling titles for adults) that live on his farm in upstate New York have distinct roles and responsibilities. Border collie Rose herds sheep, while another collie, Izzy, works outside the farm as a therapy dog ("He helps people feel better"). Frieda, a rottweiler and German shepherd mix, was wild before coming to the farm, and while her size and ground-shaking bark make her "a bit scary," she guards the farm against foxes and coyotes. Katz withholds black Lab Lenore's job until the end, repeating the question, "But what is Lenore's job?" Lenore makes cameos in the other dogs' profiles, and readers will soon understand the role she plays: "Lenore is not as quick as Rose, or as busy as Izzy, or as strong as Frieda. But she is a working dog. Her job is loving and accepting and having patience." While the basic message feels a bit overemphasized, dog-loving readers will value the attention paid to their individual contributions. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)