illus. by Hazel Mitchell. 40p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763680930.
PreS-Gr 1—Mitchell honors her puppy-mill rescue dog by modeling her new picture book hero on him. Told in first person by an unnamed boy with new-to-the-neighborhood loneliness, the tale centers on his attempt to convince his single dad to adopt a shelter dog. Toby's initial shyness unfolds to charming exuberance, but his mischief includes floor puddles, a trampled garden, and eyeglass destruction. Fortunately, the boy's commitment to behavior training and Toby's well-timed discovery of a lost shoe create a cuddly conclusion. The graphite and watercolor wash illustrations are digitally colored with muted hues. Mitchell enlists a variety of compositions, from graphic novel-style panels to full spreads. The fluffy white pup's expressions echo the varying moods of the narrative.
VERDICT This familiar story with a family cast not often seen in picture books will warm dog-loving hearts.

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