Ladybug Nominee

Can I Be Your Dog?
Author/Illustrator:  Troy Cummings
ISBN: 978-0399554520
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 13, 2018)

This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy. 

About Troy Cummings

Big Ideas: Perseverance. Responsible Pet Ownership. Helping Others. Treating Others with Kindness and Respect. Homelessness.

Questions: What are some characteristics of a good home and pet owner?

Vocabulary: Allergic, Butcher, Gloom

  • Pretending you are an animal, write a letter (or postcard) asking for a home. Younger children can dictate to an adult or older sibling and add pictures.        NHSL created an Early Literacy Planning Tool sheet NHSL created for this at http://tinyurl.com/dogstorytime
  • Draw a picture of the dog happy in his new home. 
  • Draw a map of all the different places the dog wanted to live and use the map to retell the story.
  • How to Sketch a Fetch-Worthy Picture Book Cover, by Troy Cummings  at https://taralazar.com/2018/03/15/how-to-sketch-a-fetch-worthy-picture-book-cover/ Read and look at the article and have children sketch their idea for the book cover.
  • Lesson plan for caring for a dog by ASPCA at https://www.petfinder.com/pro/for-shelters/lesson-plan-caring-dog/
  • Fetch a Good Book activities by Upstart at https://resources.demco.com/fetchagoodbookactivityguide.pdf
Companion Titles:
  • What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 2015)
  • May I Pet Your Dog?: The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson; illustrated by Jan Ormerod (Clarion Books, 2007)
  • Let’s Get a Pup! Said Kate by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2001)
  • How do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? by Jane Yolan and Mark Teague (Blue Sky Press, 2010)
  • Oh, Theodore!: Guinea Pig Poems by Susan Katz; illustrated by Stacey Schuett (Clarion Books, 2007)
  • The Forgotten Rabbit by Nancy Furstinger; illustrated by Nancy Lane (Gryphon Press, 2014)     About not neglecting our pets.
  • Sparky!  by Jennie Offill; illustrations by Chris Appelhans (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2014)      Accepting pets for what they are.
Other Links and Resources:
Thoughts from Andrea L. Mack :
My Thoughts as a Writer: If you’re interested in writing a story through letters, this is a great mentor text. There’s lots of humor in this story. I especially liked the different styles of responses to the dog.  The letters show the different personalities and hints of backstory in a just a few words. It made me want to try the challenge of writing a story told through letters or notes!
My Thoughts as an Educator: This is a fun book to show students examples of letter writing and persuasive writing. It also shows different community helpers or places in the community. It may even lead into discussions about homelessness. The big, colourful illustrations make this book great for reading aloud.
How to help homeless animals and adopt a shelter animal: https://www.aspca.org/  and Humanesociety.org
Mutt-i-grees curriculum at  https://education.muttigrees.org/ A unique social emotional learning program using canine-themed activities.

This is one of ten titles nominated for the 2019 Ladybug Picture Book Award. This info sheet post was created by Deborah Dutcher, Youth and Adult Services Librarian, NHSL and Karen Landsman,  Library Media/Tech Integration Specialist, Hooksett School District.

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