Monday, February 20, 2017

Our Dog Benji

Our Dog Benji
written by Pete Carter; illustrated by James Henderson
2017 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

In the park, he eats grass and daffodils, and pretends he's hungry if anyone is eating ice cream... I understand that.

Benji will eat almost anything. His owner not so much. The narrator wishes he were a less picky eater like Benji. Tomatoes, olives, even avocado are treats for Benji. When it's morning, Benji stares at the refrigerator with the hope that something will pop out. He searches for crumbs along the floor. We had a beagle that would lay down at my wife's feet every morning as she made lunches for our daughters. You never know when a snack cracker or a piece of cheese will hit the ground. For Benji, dinner time is spent under the table where unknown treasures appear. But it isn't just inside the house that food can be found. Walking through his open gate, Benji is found sharing a lunch with a construction worker. If a party is being held next door, he will grace it with his presence. Nothing better than good food and good company. Summertime brings an abundance of crunchy snacks in the form of bugs. There's really only one thing that he won't eat. In agreement with the narrator, celery is a food that can be left alone for this dog.

Our Dog Benji is a unique way to approach the subject of picky eating. I think you can also read this book and talk about gratitude. Benji is appreciative of what he is given. It's a sweet story that could lead to a larger discussion about what we can learn from our pets. You can also teach a lesson on comparing with Benji and the narrator or Benji and the reader using a Venn Diagram. Having lost a beloved beagle a few weeks ago, Our Dog Benji is a particularly heartwarming story for dog lovers.

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