by Grace Gilman, pictures by Sarah McConnell
2011 | 32 pages | Easy Reader (I Can Read! Level 1 - Beginning Reading)
Dixie, a floppy-eared puppy, waits for Emma to come home from school every day so they can play together. When Emma gets the part of Dorothy in the class play, she doesn't have as much time for Dixie, so the puppy misbehaves in order to get attention. She still proves her true friendship to Emma, however, by comforting her when she worries about forgetting her lines and sharing the spotlight as Dorothy's dog, Toto.
This is primarily a story of friendship between a girl and her dog. Though Emma is frustrated with herself for not feeling confident in her lines, and sometimes takes it out on Dixie, she still loves her puppy. And though Dixie doesn't fully understand why it's not okay to make messes and steal Emma's ruby red slippers, she forgives Emma when she begins to understand what she's going through, and even takes steps to help her feel better.
This book will definitely appeal to new readers who have or wish to have dogs of their own. Girls or boys can easily relate to Dixie's hi-jinks, but I think girls, in particular, will be drawn to the pinkness of Emma's bedroom and those sparkly red shoes.
The text itself includes great action words, like grabbing, tipping, leaping, chewing, and chomping that give the story lots of life. The illustrations, too, contribute to the reader's experience of Dixie's puppy behavior. The plot wasn't as exciting as it might have been. There is a bit of drama when Dixie steals one of the ruby slippers, but it's resolved very quickly and easily, as are most of the story's problems. It's definitely a gentle story that will work well for kids who like calm, quiet, feel-good tales. For kids seeking more adventure and excitement, it might disappoint.
I borrowed Dixie from my local public library.
NOTE: This book was nominated by Bigfoot for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!