The Stray Dog

by Marc Simont

“It was a great day for a picnic.” These are the first words of a story... read more

“It was a great day for a picnic.” These are the first words of a story based on an actual event that happened to Marc Simont some years ago. The real story begins several pages earlier with Simont’s artwork showing a family of four packing the car in preparation for a picnic in the park, driving across a New York City bridge, and establishing themselves at a site. Once there, they notice a frisky little dog. The children play with the dog, and they even name it Willy. The dog seems to have no people, and he has no collar. When the boy and girl want to take Willy home, their adults prevail. “He must belong to somebody, and they would miss him,” they say to the children. As it turns out, throughout the week, each member of the family misses Willy, and each is shown thinking about the pup. The next weekend they head for the same picnic table and set out a food dish to encourage Willy, if he’s nearby, to join them again. He’s close to them, all right, but now a dog warden is chasing him. Children will relish seeing how the boy and girl spontaneously solve the ownership dilemma. Simont’s watercolor paintings provide details even the youngest can follow, and they perfectly reflect the varying moods of the story. (Ages 2–5)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

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