Monday, November 28, 2011

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Booklist (February 1, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 11))

Grades K-2. In a sort of picture-book version of his adult book A Dog Year (2002), Katz introduces the four dogs who now share life with him on a farm in upstate New York. Through simple text and bright photographs, the four pooches are described, one at a time. Rose, a border collie, herds sheep, and photos depict her staring down the flock even through heavy snow. Izzy was abandoned early in life but now is a therapy animal who visits the sick. Frieda, the rottweiler–German shepherd mix, “is a bit scary” and guards the farm. The question asked at the end of each chapter is the same: “But what is Lenore’s job?” The answer’s clear, but Katz spells it out: the black Lab, who “looks for disgusting things to eat and mud to roll in,” is in charge of keeping the other dogs happy by loving them—“And that may be the greatest work of all.” This is the love letter people wishes they could write to their own pets, and it makes a point well worth reiterating: in a family, all members are equally valuable.

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