Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

illus. by Lisa Papp. 32p. Peachtree. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781561459100.
K-Gr 2—Madeline Finn does not like to read. Not books. Not magazines. Not even the menu on the local ice-cream truck. What she absolutely likes least, however, is reading aloud at school. Her teacher is encouraging ("Keep trying, Madeline"), but sometimes the other kids laugh when she makes a mistake. Worse, she never gets a star or a smiley face for her efforts, just a heart with the message "Keep Trying." On Saturday, she and her mom pay a visit to the library. Miss Dimple the librarian knows that Madeline doesn't like to read, but she has something special in store for her. "Madeline Finn, would you like to read to a dog?" Well, yes, Madeline says, rather tentatively. Bonnie is a big white dog who is known to be a good listener. Bonnie is very patient and doesn't giggle when Madeline gets the letters mixed up or when the words don't come out quite right. After that, it's a date every Saturday, and Madeline is learning from Bonnie to go slowly and keep trying. But one day Bonnie doesn't show up, and it's almost Madeline's turn to read out loud in school again. She's scared, but Mom reminds her to "just pretend you're reading to Bonnie." It's a little bumpy in class that day, but Madeline imagines that Bonnie is right next to her. She successfully finishes her page and gets her star. Papp's realistic drawings are created in pencil and watercolor and enhanced digitally. The drawings are soft edged and somewhat muted, and they complement the mood of the story well.
VERDICT The book is best suited to medium-size or large collections but will definitely be welcome at libraries with Read to a Dog programs.

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