Written and Illustrated by Sangmi Ko
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015
One day, Mini was on her way home from Grandma and Grandpa’s, when suddenly – Screech!!!
The plot in a nutshell: A girl gets attached to a lost dog.
Mini’s mother brakes the car for a dog sitting in the street wearing shoes. She looks all around for the dog’s owner but no one speaks up so they take the dog home. Mini is very excited and plays with the dog, but then the dog starts barking and Mom tells her he’s missing his family. Mini says that he has no collar so maybe he doesn’t have a home, but her mom points out that he’s wearing shoes, so he must be someone’s dog. Mini takes him for a walk in the park and he gets a lot of attention for being so cute and smart. She lets him off the leash to get him to fetch and he runs away. The next day, Mini and her mom visit the local animal shelter to look for the dog and they bring him home and put up posters to look for his real owner, who shows up to happily claim him. Then Mini and her mom go back to the animal shelter to find a dog of her own.
This is the debut picture book from author/illustrator Sangmi Ko and it’s based on real events that happened to her niece. The story is very relatable and has an absolutely perfect blend of comedy and heart. Mini wants to keep the dog, but when he runs away in the park and she is reunited with him at the shelter, it makes her realize what his true owner must be going through. This is an important piece of the story, I think, because it shows empathy and maturity in a lovely way. I love that the dog’s owner thanks Mini and takes her dog home without giving Mini some tangible reward, which would have minimized the more personal reward received from her experience and the discovery of the joy of owning a dog.
The artwork is done in black and white pencil drawings, with digital pops of yellow and red sprinkled marginally throughout, in the dog’s shoes and leash. There are a lot of details in the illustrations, especially in the delightful facial expressions, which are just exaggerated enough to clearly convey their emotions. Ms. Ko cleverly includes some helpful tips for adopting a shelter dog in the back of the book. I really enjoyed this book and hope to see more books from her in the future.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that every dog should be with someone who loves and cares for them.