cover image Pick a Pup

Pick a Pup

Marsha Chall, illus. by Jed Henry, S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7961-6

Thanks to his grandmother, Sam gets to choose a pet dog from the shelter. "But which one will he pick?" writes Chall (One Pup's Up). "Is there a way to know the one—a clue, a sign, a trick?" Eschewing the usual breed categories, Sam prefers to think in terms of character traits as he mulls over the various dogs in his neighborhood. There's the "sit-in-your-lap dog," the "hates-to-play-alone pup," the "pedigreed-Who's-Who pup" and so on. But when Sam's eyes meet those of a bouncing yellow puppy across a crowded shelter room, the boy has an epiphany that should be familiar to any dog owner: he's been chosen as well. Debut artist Henry's compositions don't break any new ground, but his watercolor and digital artwork exudes a sturdy, boyish energy, and his animal characterizations feel spot-on. Without needing much detail, he captures the infectious joy of canine physicality—whether his subject is lolling, leaping, preening, or feverishly wagging its tail—as well as the eager eyes that constitute the doggie equivalent of a grin. Ages 2–5. (Feb.)