Young children frequently feel alone. In many
cases, their family surrounds them, but this feeling of aloneness still can
prevail. To fill in the spaces in their minds, youngsters might make up
imaginary friends or fantasize about some great accomplishment. Many times
in these musings, children will want to hold onto a doll or stroke a pet.
Animals usually are the most comforting, and cats and dogs are frequently
Amy Hest has written a beautiful picture book
about a lonely little girl finding an equally abandoned puppy. The name of
this endearing story is, "The Dog Who Belonged to No One."
A young girl, Lia, lives with her family at the
edge of town. Both of Lia’s parents are bakers, and the bakery is attached
to their home. Each day the wonderful fragrance of fresh bread and cakes
fills the air. Lia’s job is to deliver baked products across town. She daily
begins her solitary commute with her bicycle loaded down with baked goods.
Lia longs to have a friend but because of her busy schedule, she rarely has
a chance to play with the other children in town. To compensate for this
hurt, she makes up stories while riding her bicycle to fill in the lonely
spaces in her heart.
In the same town, a small, friendly puppy is
happily running down the streets. He has an attractive personality and no
bad habits, but has been abandoned. He searches up and down the streets
trying to find someone to befriend him. Each night he sadly crawls back into
a corner and fearfully waits for night darkness to fall.
One day a huge storm blows into town. The wind
begins howling and the rain starts to pelt down. The little dog is caught in
the gale and tries to outrun the storm. As he is running from the howling
winds, the little dog sees Lia trying to out-pedal the rain. Soaked to the
bone, both try to find shelter. The little dog belonging to no one runs
frantically ahead of the exhausted and drenched girl. Both look up and see a
warmly lighted house ahead of them, and they smell the sweet fragrance of
bread and cake.
So where are they? Do they escape from the
pounding wind? Does a friendship develop between Lia and the little dog?
Have you ever felt lonely? What can take away that
painful feeling? Have you ever helped anyone feel less lonely? And finally,
what does Lia learn about friendship? To find out, go to the library and
check out this lovely picture book, "The Dog Who Belonged to No One,"
by Amy Hest.
This title is on the Golden Sower List for K-3
readers in Nebraska. The Golden Sower Award is voted on each year by the
school children of Nebraska. At the annual Nebraska Library Convention, the
winner is given a plaque and invited to speak at the convention. It is
usually an exciting day for the children and librarians to meet the winning
This book is simply charming and I would strongly encourage you to read
it with your children. The pictures invite readers into the story, and you
will cheer the decisions made by Lia and the little dog. In this tender
story, Amy Hest shows how trust can build love and friendship. I hope you
get a chance to check out this wonderful picture book. Enjoy!