If you own a Westie, love dogs, or even have a soft spot in your heart for animals, then you’re going to love this book.
I suspect most of you are already familiar with McDuff, but I love the McDuff stories so much that I just had to highlight one of them for Perfect Picture Book Friday. This is the first book in the series. And yes, I used to share my home with a feisty little Westie called Gizmo.
Title: McDuff Moves In
Author: Rosemary Wells
Illustrator: Susan Jeffers
Publisher: 1997, Scholastic Inc.
Intended Audience: 2 to 6 years
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Theme: Dogs, Animals, Compassion
Opening: In the back of a dogcatcher’s truck sat a little white dog nobody wanted. Thump! went the truck over a bump in the road. The little dog popped out into the night.
Synopsis (From Kirkus Reviews): “A little white dog that nobody wants tumbles off the dogcatcher’s truck and into the home of Lucy and Fred in a story that recalls a time when compassion wasn’t in such short supply. After his fall from the truck, the little white dog goes from house to house, barking at doors and garnering chilly responses from growling dogs and hissing cats. A young couple in pajamas, robes, and slippers, rousted from their beds, invite the bedraggled dog into their home to feed and bathe, and then set out for the pound. Before they’ve gone far, they admit to each other that they don’t want to take the dog back. A late-night feast of McDuff’s Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread Biscuits gives the dog his new name: McDuff.”
Why I Like This Book: I love the simple illustrations, the dusky palette, and the 1940’s (or is it 30’s?) feel of the book. Whenever I read it to my class, my heart goes out to little McDuff. My only minor complaint is that the text is brief, and lacks detail which sometimes makes it a bit more challenging as a read-aloud. I find I really have to put a lot of my own personality into the reading to just ramp up the story-line a bit. But the children love the book and many are able to read it on their own.
1. The Humane Society has lots of lessons plans about pet care.
2. Learning to Give has a 3 lesson unit on pet care and safety. It looks very good.
3. A gorgeous painting activity (from Deep Space Sparkle) based on the book, Are You Blue Dog’s Friend, which I think would also work with McDuff.
4. Here’s an easy tutorial on how to draw a westie.
And here’s our sweet, but gruff, little Westie-cross, Gizmo! RIP, sweetie-pie!