WHY DOGS ARE by Tana Thompson


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A simple, moving origin story of dogs for young readers, told with touching illustrations and a religious theme.

Thompson’s debut children’s picture book is a tale of how dogs came to exist and why humans love them so much. A blind and deaf boy named Brian knows the world only through touch; when members of his family want to tell him they love him, he can’t experience their words and smiles—only their touch. God wants to demonstrate his love to Brian as well, so he comes up with a plan to send the first dog to Earth to show Brian his love. He instructs his creation to pave the way for future dogs by loving Brian: “Stay by his side. Let him lean on you. Help him walk with confidence.” In a moving, wordless illustrated montage, Brian meets the canine and they immediately bond. The dog teaches the boy two essential lessons: “to love without expecting anything in return [and] to forgive those who hurt him—then to forget the hurt and love them even more.” The book’s final lesson is simple: a dog’s love is an expression of God’s love. The only element out of place in this book is its notion that dogs have long existed in heaven, where they pursue games such as chasing cars and hiding bones—activities that only make sense on Earth. However, readers will likely overlook such non sequiturs, due to the lovely images and sentiments. Bright pastel illustrations grace the pages, including realistically joyous depictions of dogs. The overarching religious theme may narrow the audience, but the story will likely resonate with young readers regardless of their religious affiliations. Dog lovers, in particular, may tear up at the deeper message of a canine’s unconditional love.

An engaging picture book about humans’ best friends and companions.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0989162401
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kendall Neff Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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