A puppy named Max explains how he’s being trained as a service dog in this children’s picture book.
Unlike most puppies, Max, who appears to be a golden retriever, has plans: he’s going to become a service dog. Such dogs can “open doors, turn on lights, and even take off someone’s shoes,” Max explains. Max’s puppy raiser and best friend is Sam, a redheaded white boy. Sam teaches Max the basics of behavior, plays with him, bathes him, and takes him for walks in his special yellow vest. Max can meet other dogs and people while practicing staying focused among many distractions. Once a week they go to puppy kindergarten, where Max learns simple commands like “visit.” Also, Max enjoys the privileges of service dogs, like getting to go on the bus, into the library, or even to the movies. Though Max knows he’ll miss Sam when it’s time for him to leave, he can’t wait to start helping someone who needs him because “that’s just like being a HERO!” Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Brownie, 2016, etc.) gives children a good introduction to the concept of service dogs, explaining why these animals are necessary and the kinds of help they provide. Another plus is that by focusing on a puppy who’s still learning but has goals, kids can identify with Max and the pride involved in mastering skills. The appealing, softly colored illustrations nicely capture the affection between boy and dog.
A good message excellently illustrated.