Alma and her abuela get a rescue dog as a surprise for her mother’s return from Iraq.
Alma and Abuela are getting ready to pick up a dog “the color of Mami’s eyes.” It’s a long way to the place where the Operation Rescue Dog truck will be. While Abuela makes arepas de queso—the family is originally from Colombia or Venezuela, perhaps—Alma packs snacks for the journey. Meanwhile, readers also find out about Lulu, the dog they will eventually adopt. Lulu’s story starts off in sad and somber shades of steel blue as readers learn of her abandonment near a highway, for weeks eating acorns and drinking from puddles. Eventually, Lulu finds herself on the Operation Rescue Dog truck heading for the place where she will meet her forever family. As humans and dog travel toward their meeting destination, not all is smooth sailing. Abuela’s car gets a flat tire that could make them miss their rendezvous, and Lulu shivers and shakes, eventually running away from the truck. But all’s well that ends well, and dog and child are united: “Alma smells like…home. So does Lulu.” The mixed-media illustrations portray people of different skin colors, while Alma and her abuela have brown skin. The backmatter includes further information on pet rescue and a glossary.
A very accessible story that will strike a chord with pet lovers and military families. (Picture book. 4-8)