Little Dog Lost by Marion Dane Bauer, 240 pp, RL 3
Little Dog Lost by Marion Dane Bauer, with charming illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell, is the perfect companion to Little Cat's Luck. Both are verse novels about pets but, where Little Cat's Luck is told exclusively from the perspective of unlikely animal friends, Little Dog Lost is told almost exclusively from the perspective of humans, specifically a lonely boy who has wanted a dog for as long as he can remember.
That said, Little Dog Lost begins with Buddy, a "Little black dog with brown paws / and a brown mask / and a sweet ruffle of brown fur on her bum / just beneath her black whip of a tail." When her owner moves and has to leave her with a woman who, while well meaning, is not an ideal dog owner, Buddy grows depressed. One day, discovering she can escape the yard, she makes a break for it, leaving her beloved toy, and orange-marmalade cat, behind.
Meanwhile, Mark, is growing up without a father or siblings. He asks his mother, the mayor of Erthly, for a dog over and over. And over and over, she refuses. All of Mark's friends have dogs and one bright summer morning, while thinking about dogs like always, Mark gets the idea to ask his mother to create a dog park. With the help of his friends, he prepares a speech to give at the next town meeting, despite the fact that he is desperately shy.
Finally, there is Charles LaRue, the elderly caretaker of a grand mansion, sitting on a green piece of land with a large oak tree. While the mysterious mistress of the house died - or disappeared - long ago, Charles stays on, the rumors about him swirling. Somehow, dog, boy and man come together and things change for the better, for everybody, making for a very happy ending. One aspect of Little Dog Lost I especially like is the narrator, who shares stories about the beginning of Erthly, past stories of some of the characters and more, filling out the story.
Source: Purchased Library Bound Edition