A yellow Labrador puppy ponders life as an adult dog.
As mother Sally gives him his morning wash, pup Fergus asks her what he should be when he grows up. She thinks for a moment before answering, "clean." This isn't a completely satisfying answer, so Fergus runs outside to ask his brothers and sisters, who are romping all over the yard. Understandably, they say "playful," without losing a beat in their mischief. Fergus asks terrier Buster, a slightly older dog, who replies "helpful." And in the park, Penelope the pampered poodle (surrounded by birds and butterflies) offers "charming." Bolt, a greyhound chasing a rabbit, stops long enough to suggest "quick." And Maggie the collie says "obedient," then demonstrates it by herding a flock of sheep. When he gets home, his friend Jester, a patchwork mutt, chooses "friendly." The confused Fergus worries to his mother that he can’t be all of these things at once. Resting next to him in their basket, she says all he really needs to be is "loved." McLean's story rolls with ease and simplicity, and the use of different text types for the various attributes that Fergus collects adds a level of fun. Her portraits of various dogs are particularly appealing, and her sunny palette is pleasing. A postscript page called "Next Steps" provides a helpful list of follow-up questions for parents and teachers.
Warm and affecting. (Picture book. 3-5)