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“So, please, can I be your dog? I don’t eat much, and I can bark if people try to steal your junk and stuff. Hopefully yours, Arfy.” –Can I Be Your Dog?
Can I Be Your Dog?
by Troy Cummings
AR Test, Picture Book
3 - 7
Arfy is a hound on a mission! Bound and determined to find a home, Arfy writes letters to everyone on Butternut Street. Honestly, he’s the best dog you could ever want. He’s obedient. He’s housebroken. He even has his own squeaky bone. Who will adopt Arfy in the end? You’ll never guess!
Readers will learn about Arfy’s desire to have a home by reading his letters, which explain why he would make a great pet. Each person gives Arfy a reason why they do not want to be a dog owner. For example, the butcher writes, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you. Last time I let a dog into my shop, a dozen meatballs went missing! Sorry, but there’s no way I’m taking in a pooch.” Arfy’s opinion of each reply is evident through his expressions and his actions. For example, when the fire station rejects Arfy, the upset pooch pees on a fire hydrant.
Dog-lovers will instantly connect to Arfy’s story, which is both humorous and heartwarming. The letter format adds interest and could be used to teach readers about persuasive letter writing. Each letter is different and reflects the letter writer. For example, the fire station uses an official letterhead and is signed Station No. 5. The letter writers also use different tones. For example, the junkyard guy writes, “Dear mutt. Get lost!”
The full-page pictures and bold colors will draw readers into Arfy’s story. Arfy and the mail carrier who delivers the letters are consistently shown throughout the story. Each time the mail carrier delivers a letter, the illustration shows the location and people who receive them. Each two-page spread shows one letter. The longest letter is eight sentences. All the letters use simple sentences with easy-to-read vocabulary.
Both dog and cat lovers will fall in love with Arfy. Can I Be Your Dog? is not only a fun story to read, but it also can be used to start a discussion on the importance of finding a pet whose personality is a good fit for a family. Arfy’s story is engaging, entertaining, and will appeal to everyone who has a soft spot for animals.
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