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PUPPY LOVE by Gillian Shields


The Story of Esme and Sam

by Gillian Shields & illustrated by Elizabeth Harbour

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: July 7th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8010-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Esme Lamour lives in a penthouse on a soft bed, while Samuel Bloom lives in a crowded tenement. Esme dines on gourmet food and Samuel eats leftovers. Their lives are totally different. But one evening, when Esme gets lost in the park, Samuel comes to her rescue and they fall in love. They find a way to be together, in the penthouse of course, and happiness ensues. But there’s a charming twist: Esme and Samuel are dogs. Although there is never a direct reference, Shields seems to have channeled Lady and the Tramp and moved it to the Big Apple, in a low-key, loving homage. Carefully crafted, image-filled phrases in snappy, fast-paced verse that employs simple rhymes in aabb form keep the action moving. Harbour’s timeless New York is aglow in soft, gauzy pastels as the canines experience Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and the diverse ethnic neighborhoods. It all hits just the right note of sweetness without being overly sentimental or cloying. A charmer. (Picture book. 4-9)