Great Illustrated Books

The Helpful Puppy

By By Kim Zarins; Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Holiday House, 2012
Pages : 32 pages
Suggested Ages: 2-4
ISBN: 9780823423187

Comfortably old-fashioned illustrations help to tell the simple story of the brown-and-white puppy who lives on a farm and wants, more than anything, to help out.  After all, the other animals have jobs to do!  This puppy will try anything, and in page after page he does.

    Maybe he can crow like the rooster.  
         Nope!  He can only yelp!
    Surely he can help haul the cart like the ox.
         No.  The wheel is too big, and the cart too heavy.
    The chickens lay eggs.  
         Even this mightily- determined little pup doesn't try that.

Young children understand this kind of ambition and disappointment and will sympathize with the pup and root him on, even as he tackles other farm jobs they know he can't possibly accomplish.  Just in time, before the puppy and readers might be ready to give up, there is THE WHISTLE.  Puppy's boy comes home from school.  Now our canine hero can get to work -- running, playing, chasing, and having fun with the boy.  Then, as bedtime approaches, there's no one else who can cuddle up and give that lucky farmer's son so much love.

Gentle rhymes in the storytelling will have kids anticipating the words of this satisfying picture book and returning again and again to spend a day with The Helpful Puppy.

Reviewed by : LLW

Themes : Dogs; Pets

If you love this book, then try:

Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Time to Share. Viking, 2012.

Lowrey, Janette Sebring. The Poky Little Puppy. Golden Books, 1942.

Willems, Mo. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. Hyperion Books CH, 2008.

Critics have said

This gentle story, reminiscent of an earlier era, has wide appeal and is a good choice for most collections.
School Library Journal

This book would be appreciated by any children who struggle with feelings of unimportance from time to time.

The short text, simple plot and amusing illustrations make this a fine choice for preschoolers who are just transitioning into real stories.
Kirkus Reviews