Friday, May 3, 2013
Maggie's Second Chance - Perfect Picture Book Friday
This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
Let me preface this post with a warning. I needed a box of tissues to get through this book. It has a happy ending but getting there is fraught with emotion. The fact that this book is based on a true story only makes it more powerful.
Title: Maggie's Second Chance
Author: Nancy Furstinger
Illustrator: Joe Hyatt
Publisher: Gryphon Press, 2011
Ages: 5 and up (note: the issue of euthanasia is mentioned although no details are given)
Themes: Animals, Helping Others, Adoption
Synopsis: A pregnant lab mix is found abandoned in a house and taken to a shelter. When a fourth grade boy learns that the dog will be euthanized if no one adopts her, he and his classmates convince their town council to build an animal shelter in their own town and save the dog. This book is based on the true story of Texas fourth graders who founded an animal shelter in their town of Dalhart. It isn't nonfiction; the author has blended two experiences together and uses third person limited from the dog's point of view, but everything rings true.
Opening: Maggie waited, watching the door. Her growing belly grumbled. Where was her dinner?
Perhaps because I've volunteered in animal rescue, this story struck home. I have pulled dogs out of lakes and seen dogs with fur matted so badly they could hardly stand. And in the heat of summer, there were dogs like "Maggie" left behind in empty houses when their owners moved away. I wish every child could read this book and understand that these situations are NOT okay.
Joe Hyatt does an amazing job with the illustrations. The dog's patient expressive eyes and her soft fur are rendered perfectly, layering meaning with the text.
Activities: Talk about what animals and people need. How are our needs different? How are they the same? Visit a local animal shelter--online or in person--to find out how you can help dogs like Maggie. Adoptions.bestfriends.org and www.aspca.org/adoption are good places to learn basic facts about pet adoption. Older children may want to discuss an issue that they feel passionate about and how they might help. The book ties in well to a discussion of all avenues of community service.