A boy tries to figure out how to replace some missing eggs in this picture book about community and family.
Georgie feels too sleepy to perform his morning chores, but Mama reminds him the eggs “aren’t going to collect themselves.” Georgie ventures out into the ominous clouds and enters the barn only to discover that the eggs are gone. The culprit? A scruffy-looking dog with perfect puppy-dog eyes and a big personality. Georgie names the dog, who is ready to help the boy find a solution to the egg problem, Buster. The dog’s first plan involves Georgie stealing some duck eggs; but that ends with the boy in the stream and still eggless after Buster pulls him out. Buster’s next scheme takes Georgie to Widow Kolbach’s barn. Georgie tries to keep Buster from crossing into her yard, but before the boy can get away, Widow Kolbach spots him. In a surprise twist, the widow needs help in her henhouse, and she allows Georgie to keep half of the eggs he collects for her. “How’d you know she needed help?” Georgie asks Buster. The sweet tale ends happily: Georgie not only obtains his eggs (and Buster gets a new home), but the pair also assists someone who needs an extra hand. Gallegos’ wonderful, tonally perfect images expertly capture Buster’s moods, from looking appropriately shamefaced, his tail between his legs and his ears drooping, to feeling perky. The dog’s excitement, inventiveness, and loyalty to Georgie spring off the page. The pair’s facial expressions are also brilliantly executed in the artwork. The story’s hint about the importance of kindness resonates, especially in light of so many recent news reports about bullying. Adams (The Coal Thief, 2015, etc.) uses challenging, but perfectly appropriate, vocabulary words, like “squelched” for the sound of the mud on Georgie’s boots. The introduction of these words, the small text size, and the historical, rural setting in the illustrations (Georgie wears knickers; midcalf, lace-up boots; and a newsboy cap) may skew the audience to confident early elementary readers (grades two and three).
A delightful take on the theme of a boy and his dog, full of detailed—and frequently funny—images and a valuable message about paying attention to the needs of your neighbors.