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As a mother's education increases, so does the likelihood that her child is read to every day. In 1999, 70 percent of ... More

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Author: Gillian Shields

Illustrator: Cally Johnson-Isaacs

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Publisher: Tiger Tales, 2014

Material: hard cover

Summary: That Dog is desperate for love from his family, the mean miserable Jones family. He decides to set out on his own to find friendship, adventure, and a better life. That Dog discovers just how special he is and that he can do more than he ever thought possible. That Dog! is a story of self discovery accessible to young children.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 2 to 9

Reading Level: 2.8

Age of Child: Read with children ages 2 and 4.

Young Reader Reaction: My kids picked this book from a collection. They really liked it. They loved the idea that a dog could teach himself to be a firefighter, a nurse, a pilot and a farmer. They also loved all the bright colors and the fun illustrations. This was a book they wanted to read several times.

Adult Reader Reaction: I didn't love this book, the syntax is awkward and I felt that the Jones family was a bit too mean to read about with my two year old. He was a little confused. I did like the section when That Dog took on various professions. Even so, I felt the ending is unresolved.

Pros: Bright colors and a determined and happy main character overcome the sad beginning for That Dog!

Cons: This is not a rhyming book, but sometimes the sentences are awkward. The Jones family is a bit over-the-top in its treatment (ignoring) of That Dog, and that may bother sensitive children. Kids who want closure (what happened to the Jones family) may be disappointed.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. My four year old liked this book so I wouldn't recommend skip, but I would not urge people to buy it.


Educational Themes: Although That Dog is a pet, there are still lessons to be drawn out about how we treat others and feelings [how would you feel if... AND what would you do if ...]. Perseverance and self-esteem are hard concepts to convey, but young readers can get a glimpse into that via this story. The implicit theme is lovely, that if you believe in yourself and work hard, you can achieve great things.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, self worth

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2015

Other Reviews: No Critics' Reviews found. See reader feedback at,


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