Mr. and Mrs. Cripps are old and mean and do not want the dog a friend gave them for Christmas.
They wash the dog and feed him, but they never give him a name. They yell when the dog does normal puppy things like digging in the garden and yapping happily. Then one day the Cripps take all their things and move away, leaving the dog, who has named himself “Sad.” The dog is only alone overnight, however, because the next morning a new family moves in, and a boy named Jack does all the right things: careful approach, fresh water, doggie biscuits, soft bed. The dog gets a better name (Lucky), and much joy ensues. The watercolor pictures are done in soft colors and whimsical line. Sad is a black-and-white bull terrier–ish dog, and the human figures have oversized heads and skinny, rubbery bodies; birds, flowers, and autumn leaves make the landscape. The story neatly skirts the issue of animal abandonment and abuse (while Sad is abandoned, it is only for a day, and the Cripps do care for him, in their fashion). Younger children may also relate to Sad the dog’s being yelled at for activities that are perfectly natural to him.
In the end, though, a pretty naked appeal to sentiment more than a story. (Picture book. 5-8)