This Canadian import focuses on Iggy, a therapy dog who assists children in a program in Toronto as they participate in investigations of child abuse.
Iggy is a black Lab with soulful, brown eyes and a gentle demeanor. He is called a “facility dog” at the social services program where he works. The dog and his handler meet with children who are victims of child abuse, accompanying the children when they testify in court or when they meet with police officers or doctors. The sensitively written text does not specifically address instances of abuse but instead refers to children speaking about “what happened to you” and the difficulty of testifying in court near “the person I didn’t want to see or talk in front of.” While Iggy is a real dog, the children in the photographs illustrating the story are models portraying the victims of child abuse. The children are of different ethnicities and range in age from preschool to high school age. The first-person text is rather confusing at first, as it is written as though one specific child is the narrator. However, the illustrations show many different children as the story progresses, with each one contributing to the narrative.
While this effort is a thoughtful and well-meaning introduction to the use of therapy dogs for children in this situation, it’s probably best suited to specific use in programs similar to Iggy’s. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-10)