cover image This Old Dog

This Old Dog

Martha Brockenbrough, illus. by Gabriel Alborozo. Levine Querido, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-646-14010-7

The titular pooch, gray and shaggy with small, friendly eyes, has reached an advanced age: “Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Old dog’s glad to see a new day,” writes Brockenbrough (Bigfoot Wants a Little Brother). But life has changed a lot since the canine’s people became parents: “The speed of life since the girl was born is fast fast fast, and old dog likes to take things slow.” His preoccupied owners lead him on walks that don’t accommodate his aches or his need to savor the day; he yearns for “a friend who looks at grass and sniffs and says, Let’s roll in this.” Alborozo (The Mouse and the Moon), working in fine-lined, warm-toned watercolor and ink, devotes an entire wordless spread to the dog standing in the garden alone, sad: “His heart thumps. His tail does not.” Then the girl starts walking and everything changes: she becomes the dog’s greatest devotee, and even loves rolling down a hill as much as he does. The authors can’t turn back the years for their senior hero, but they achieve something almost as good: they leave readers believing that the best is yet to come. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.) [/em]