Just like Boot & Shoe, the scruffy main character of Shoe Dog stole my heart immediately. As soon as I started reading, I discovered that although adorable, this little dog would be a mischievous companion in real life!
Shoe Dog is adopted from a shelter, only to reveal a bad habit: he is infamous for chewing his owner’s shoes. Every time the lady brings home a shoe box, the excitable dog simply cannot help himself. He must first unwrap them from their beautiful boxes, then rip through the tissue paper, then chew them until they are in tatters. The well-meaning pet never seems to learn, even though he is punished each time by his frustrated owner.
The illustrations in this book are very charming; shoe dog has an almost shoelace-like quality to his furry brown coat, rendering him much like the thing he loves most. Shoe Dog’s best emotions are drawn out plainly on his expressive face as he discovers each shiny new pair of shoes to lovingly destroy.
This book would make a great read-aloud; the lively pictures of the little dog jump off the page as his behaviour earns him worse and worse punishment for his naughtiness. What begins with no more “cozy covers” digresses into being confined to the basement with “only a mop for a friend.” This isn’t a tragic story, though. Shoe Dog’s mind finally changes when his new owner brings home a pair of slippers he simply can’t chew: shoe cats!
The adorable and reassuring conclusion will charm little ones and adults alike. This is a wonderful book for 2 to 5-year-olds. It has just the right amount of repetition, and gives some great opportunities to predict what’s going to happen next: will Shoe Dog ever learn? Megan McDonald is also the author of the very popular Judy Moody and Stink series, and she infuses the same humour and quirkiness into her furry characters as she does with her human ones. Shoe Dog isn’t perfect, but he is loved (and he really does mean well). In the end that’s all that matters.