Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog

Peachtree. Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781682631492.
Gr 1-3–Becoming a therapy dog is hard work, but Madeline Finn and her dog, Star, are up to the challenge. Together, he and Madeline practice all kinds of things, including meeting new people, sitting still as cars drive by, and meeting other dogs. After months of preparation, Star is ready for his test to become a certified therapy dog. Star and Madeline go to a retirement village for his test. While most things go well, one resident, Mr. Humphrey, takes longer than the others to open up to Star. By Star’s third and final testing date, Madeline has an idea that just might bring Mr. Humphrey out of his shell. This is a beautifully designed introduction to the lives of therapy dogs and how much work goes into becoming one. A backdrop of warm tan surrounds each image; this, coupled with soft purples, blues, and greens, lends a sense of familiarity and comfort to the story. Pencil lines and watercolor enhance this feeling, nonverbally communicating the effect a therapy dog has on the people he meets. Thoughtful placement of each visual and its accompanying text makes the pages balanced throughout. The text itself is of medium length and is best suited to young readers with a longer attention span.
VERDICT This intergenerational story of love and acceptance is an important addition to library collections for young elementary-aged readers.

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