Books celebrate bonds with pets
September 20, 2013 3:38PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:14AM
Puppies and dogs are always popular. There is a reason they are considered to be “man’s best friend.”
Just watch a boy or girl with their beloved pet and you will know why. I was always amazed at how close my son and his Mitch were when he was growing up.
“Charley’s First Night” by Amy Hest shows us how Henry meets Charley and brings him home.
In the snow, we watch as Charley tries to climb up Henry in his effort to be carried. Henry caves and carries Charley all the way home. When they get there, Henry shows Charley all around the house and introduces Charley to his mom and dad.
They are quite clear that Charley is Henry’s responsibility but Henry is more than willing. They are also quite clear that Charley will be sleeping in the kitchen.
A bed is arranged under the table with a stuffed toy and a ticking clock to make Charley comfortable.
You know what happens. After several tries, we watch with love as they both end up asleep on Henry’s bed, just where they belong.
The inimitable Jules Feiffer brings us “Bark, George.”
When George’s mother tells him to bark, he meows. Mom tries again but no luck. This time he quacks.. Next effort? “Oink.” Then, “moo.”
A trip to the vet leads to a similar result — a meow. The vet reaches down into George and brings up a cat.
You can figure out the rest. A duck appears, then a pig, and finally, with really long gloves, the vet brings up a cow.
The vet says, “Bark, George!” and this time, a wonderful “arf” emerges.
George’s mother is so thrilled she kisses the vet and all the other animals that were inside her son. She is so proud that on the way home, she tells George to bark only to hear him say “Hello!”
Marilyn Nelson brings us the warm and wonderful story “Snook Alone.”
Abba Jacob is a monk who lives in a hermitage, on an island in a faraway sea, alone except for his little rat terrier, Snook. They are constant companions, following certain schedules and activities together.
A storm comes over the island, and Snook is inadvertently left behind when Abba Jacob leaves for a bigger island. Snook tries to stay on the beach where he lost his master but is driven to shelter.
The next morning, he sits on the beach, watching the sun rise and watching for his owner. Days go by.
He finds water and food and continues to sit and wait. We watch as various animals threaten his island, and still he waits. The sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs and the sharks follow the turtles and churn the sea.
Then, after all the struggles and adventures, the dream comes true. We watch as a small speck on the horizon grows into a boat with his owner inside.
We leave them in a joyous reunion, “Good dog, Snookie-boy. Good dog!”
This is a beautiful look at loyalty and is told in a poetical voice that is lovely.
Good dog, Snook!