A lonely canine gets a new lease on life in this picture book.
Sam is an adult shelter dog who dreams of having a family. He wonders if the reason the young pups get adopted instead of him, when he’s already trained to fetch and sit, is because he has a crooked leg. When an elderly man who walks with a cane visits the shelter, he recognizes Sam as a kindred spirit. Sam is thrilled, but his hopes are dashed when he realizes that his new home is a small shack next to a junkyard instead of the mansion he imagined. But as the man says: “We both know that sometimes things aren’t what they seem.” Sam soon discovers joy and “treasures” at the messy junkyard, finding a purpose, friends, and love. Sam’s initial struggle to see past the first impressions of his new life, despite having been the subject of that same type of scrutiny, rings true, and the sage old man’s words form the core of this touching story. Sky’s (Santa’s Dog, 2018, etc.) rhyming stanzas scan beautifully throughout, making this an easy read-aloud for group sharing. The rescue tale also features a vocabulary that’s approachable for newly independent readers. Tatulli’s (Fireworks in the Night, 2016) playful cartoon art, populated by animals and humans of all colors and ages, captures Sam’s spirit perfectly.
A moving tribute to shelter dogs, the humans who love them, and the wisdom of looking beyond outward appearances.