No one wants to bring baggage into a new relationship. So, when it’s just ourselves, we work on our issues, sharpen up, and try to be better now than we were back then. It is easy to imagine a new pet, especially one who has been in a human family before, being anxious about making a good impression, to leave their old selves behind. But animals don’t generally have the ability, as we do, to identify areas in themselves and their behavior that need work, and then to do that work. It’s up to us to train them.
That’s the conundrum that faces the main character of author/illustrator Hazel Mitchell’s book, Toby. The boy and his father have moved to a new neighborhood, which is stressful enough for both of them, but in addition to the loneliness the change brings, the boy has just finally succeeded in convincing his dad to let him bring home a shelter pet, the fluffy dog Toby.
Toby comes with a certain amount of canine baggage. The dog has a tough time adjusting to life outside the shelter. He howls at night, hides from father and son, makes puddles in the hall, and destroys the flower bed. The young boy becomes more and more worried that his dad will send Toby back. Will he be able to train him in time?
Hazel Mitchell will be at the Portland Public Library on Thursday the 29th at 10:30 a.m. for a read aloud and draw along of her book. You and your kids are invited to participate and visit with some live pets (a PPL staffer says, "Probably a bunny or a kitten, we don’t know yet.”) from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Any family who is considering a shelter pet, or has just adopted one, is bound to get a lot out of the experience. Consider the words of one Amazon reviewer about the book: “This story is for those of us who love our pets and consider them a family member. If you want to celebrate your own pet's adoption or prepare a child for the possibility of a pet adoption, this is the perfect storybook for you. The illustrations are magical and make the bond between the boy and Toby come alive.”
Mitchell is the author of several other children’s books, including Imani’s Moon, One Word Pearl, Animally and Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? Go and hear her share.
Portland Public Library: 207-871-1700