Friday, September 7, 2018

Looking for a Family

Picture Book: Can I Be Your Dog?
Author & Illustrator: Troy Cummings
Summary: This clever picture book is about Arfy who is desperate for a better home on Butternut Street. He writes a variety of unsealed letters to home owners touting his positive traits and willingness to adapt. 
They are all delivered by Mitzi, a curious letter carrier. First to receive is the yellow house. 
 For this family, Arfy addresses the issue of the cat! 
But in a reply, the family explains that the cat is "allergic" to dogs. 
The Butcher Lady has had some unpleasant dog experience so she's not interested in having Arfy, even though he explains he would keep the floor clean.  
 She does give him some treats though. 
The fire station already has filled their important position of  fire dog. 
Arfy is disappointed. 
The letters and rejections continue.  Arfy is even so desperate he sends a letter to the man at the junkyard, whose reply is quite rude. 
 Arfy's last resort is to the occupants of this house.
With each rejection, Arfy gets more and more despondent 
and returns alone to his unpleasant home. 
A surprise comes his way in the form of a letter of invitation! It asks if Arfy might be willing to be a friend and partner. 
If Arfy is willing, it is suggested that they meet at the big blue mailbox. Arfy's response? 
 When they meet, its love all around! 
 Arfy delivers a last letter.
Hanna’s Comments: This is so much more than an adoption story. Here you have a story full of sincere longing, faith, hope, vulnerability, hospitality, perseverance, and resilience. And it ends with a big burst of love and belonging. Also, the word play is so smart! Your audience will love it! Don't assume this book is just for kiddos. See my application below for an important possibility for adult conversation. At the end of the book, there is a "letter" to the reader listing the benefits of pet adoption or volunteering at an animal facility.
Original Publisher & Date: Random House, 2018
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet 
Scripture Connections: Any scripture or Bible story on longing and hope such as the Israelites' wanderings in the wilderness or any scripture about God's love such as "Behold what love God has given us that we should be called the children of God." (1 John 3:1); Whoever receives one child in my name, receives me. (Matthew 18:5); Paul writes about receiving adoption from God (Galatians 4:5 & Ephesians 1:5)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults in your church and talk about the desperation that might be present in those visiting your church looking for a faith home and family.