Friday, December 7, 2012
Charley's First Night by Amy Hest
Rating: 4 stars
Warning: DO NOT buy this book if you've got puppy fever. It will push you over the edge, and before you know it you'll have a wiggly, wobbly puppy traipsing all over your house. Wait, is that a bad thing?
The story is just okay for me: A little boy gets a new puppy, names him Charley, and shows him around his new house. The boy's parents are very clear as to who will walk and feed the dog: the boy. And they are clear as to where the puppy will sleep: the kitchen.
The pictures are way beyond okay for me: Charley the puppy trots along behind the boy, he carries the puppy around in a blanket, they gaze into each other's eyes on a big bean bag chair. We are privileged to witness, thanks to the sweet illustrations of Helen Oxenbury (oh she is so wonderful!), a boy fall in love with his dog. The last page shows the little boy clearly breaking his parents' clear instructions on where Charley should sleep. After the boy hears Charley sadly crying in the kitchen, the two curl up in the boy's big bed, both happy as can be.
The book is very, very cute, and takes me back to second grade. Our family got our first dog, a Golden Retriever my dad named Darby. Darby had long hair with ears that looked crimped, a goofy little smile, and the softest coat in the world. And the smell--I can remember her puppy smell to this day. Our family already has two big dogs, so there won't be any puppies for us any time soon. But I can't wait to get one--and watch Lorelei, Ben, and Kiefer fall in love with it...