A mixed-race girl who uses a manual wheelchair finds a way for her irrepressible pet to stay by her side.
Zara’s dog, Moose, loves to say, “Hello.” When Zara hugs Moose, the faces of both child and dog beaming with contentment, readers will understand perfectly why Moose finds “goodbye” as awful as “an itch that couldn’t be scratched.” When Moose can’t accompany Zara to school, Moose “put[s] on her brakes” until Mom (who’s black) and Dad (who’s white) drag her away from Zara. But Moose has other ideas, beginning a chain of escape attempts. Each “Hello” finds the persistent pooch visiting Zara’s class in different areas of the school, her animated antics emphasized by brisk lines and scrawls. Each “Goodbye” is a cumulative refrain, requiring Mom, Dad, Zara, and more and more school personnel to get Moose to leave. Finally, Moose is alone in a crate, surrounded by white space broken only by a family portrait and Moose’s winding howl. But not for long—Zara takes Moose to “therapy dog school,” and Moose happily becomes the class reading dog. Gianferrari’s dog’s-eye metaphors for loneliness and Barton’s expressive, energetic mixed-media illustrations highlight Moose’s affection and the joy she brings to others. An author’s note provides a brief description of therapy dogs as well as two websites for further information.
Young children and their dogs will enjoy this cheery tale. (Picture book. 4-6)