Galindo’s American picture-book debut makes strides toward filling gaps in adoption narratives.
First-person narration follows an anthropomorphic puppy settling in with a “new mom.” Mom is a striped cat—on the surface, an odd choice given the antagonism typically associated with these animals. The text doesn’t acknowledge this, but it reveals related concerns: “I was worried I didn’t look like Mom.” The puppy paints stripes on its body, but Mom lovingly provides assurance: “She likes that we are different.” Cleansed of paint, child and mother take a walk and ignore a glowering spotted cat-and-kitten pair who presumably disapprove of their interspecies family. Otherwise, they stay home navigating the everyday ups and downs of getting acquainted. There’s only scant attention given to the puppy’s pre-adoptive life: it arrives with two packed bags and also says, “I’d never had my own room before.” This leaves questions open about the puppy’s life and neglects the third part of the adoption triad: the birth family. And yet, this is one of few adoption books to feature an older child entering a new family, and the two animals’ different appearances could be read as symbolizing different races. The presentation of a single mother is also unusual and valuable. Throughout, digital illustrations employ a soft, flat aesthetic rendered in a muted palette that meets the gentle text’s tone.
A welcome addition.(Picture book. 4-8)