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BEFORE YOU WERE MINE by Maribeth Boelts

BEFORE YOU WERE MINE

By Maribeth Boelts (Author) , David Walker (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-399-24526-8
Publisher: Putnam

“Before you were mine . . . ” wonders a little boy, “[d]id you live in a warm house with warm smells and a rug that was only yours? [Or were] you kept on a chain, with a dusty bowl and lonely sounds all around?” Never varying from this direct address, the little boy speculates about the life his dog may have led before being adopted from the shelter. He imagines happiness, cruelty, misfortune, neglect: “[Maybe] you ran away and they never heard that if your dog runs away, you look for him . . . until you find him.” Softly framed pastel panels and vignettes depict a round, mustard-colored little mutt playing with an imagined boy, making puppy-mischief, alone and scared, before being taken to the shelter for “a meal, and a bath, and a bed of your own” before coming home with the narrator. Boelts’s restrained text and Walker’s affecting illustrations combine to pack a small wallop directly to the hearts of dog-loving children who will almost certainly give their pets an extra hug afterwards. A note on adopting a shelter pet follows this unabashedly emotional offering. (Picture book. 4-8)