Hazel Mitchell

Book - 2016

When a young boy's newly-adopted dog, Toby, has trouble adjusting to his new life, he wonders if Toby will ever settle in.

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Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press [2016]
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
Main Author
Hazel Mitchell (author)
Review by Booklist Review

After moving into a new home, a boy asks for a dog, and his dad agrees, saying, If you promise to take care of it. The boy chooses Toby, a somewhat worried-looking dog at the shelter. When Toby howls that night, the boy comforts him. When Toby wets the floor, he mops it up. When Toby gets spooked by a cat in the yard, he calms him down. They begin to play together, but there are setbacks: Toby tramples Dad's flowers, and then mangles his glasses. Still, when Toby finds a missing shoe one morning, the boy can finally say, Good dog, Toby! Written from the boy's point of view, the first-person narrative defines the story, though the ending is a bit inconclusive. The book's warmth and appeal come from the artwork. Pencil drawings are tinted with a soft palate of watercolor washes and digitally added colors. And while the soft browns, blues, greens, and grays create a subdued, rather melancholy tone throughout the book, both the boy and his lovable dog are smiling by the final scene.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Inspired by her own dog's adoption story, illustrator Mitchell's (Kenya's Art) first book as author centers on a boy who has moved into a new neighborhood with his (presumably single) father. Featuring a pale color scheme dominated by blues and beiges, the mixed-media art, displayed in full-page and panel configurations, dominates the pages. The perfunctory text consists of the boy's succinct commentary and dialogue with his father. "Well, if you promise to take care of it, we can," says the man in response to his son's request for a dog. At a shelter, the child selects Toby, a furry, floppy-eared dog who has difficulty adjusting to his new life, despite the boy's prodding and training efforts. After the father suggests, "Maybe Toby isn't the right dog for us after all," the dog rapidly picks up a few tricks. But while it seems clear that Toby has found his home, the story doesn't end so much as stop, abruptly. The highlight of this getting-to-know-you tale is Mitchell's visual channeling of her characters' emotions, both human and canine. Ages 4-6. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-Mitchell honors her puppy-mill rescue dog by modeling her new picture book hero on him. Told in first person by an unnamed boy with new-to-the-neighborhood loneliness, the tale centers on his attempt to convince his single dad to adopt a shelter dog. Toby's initial shyness unfolds to charming exuberance, but his mischief includes floor puddles, a trampled garden, and eyeglass destruction. Fortunately, the boy's commitment to behavior training and Toby's well-timed discovery of a lost shoe create a cuddly conclusion. The graphite and watercolor wash illustrations are digitally colored with muted hues. Mitchell enlists a variety of compositions, from graphic novel-style panels to full spreads. The fluffy white pup's expressions echo the varying moods of the narrative. VERDICT This familiar story with a family cast not often seen in picture books will warm dog-loving hearts.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

After moving, a boy and his father are looking for just the right dog. When they adopt Toby, the boy has to learn how to be a responsible owner and Toby has to learn how to be a good dog. Mitchell's watercolor-wash and graphite vignettes add heart to a straightforward pet-adoption story. An author's note provides details about the real-life Toby. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.