Year Published: October 2013
Author: Meg Kearney
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
A moving story of a three-legged stray dog who finds a loving boy to call his own–illustrated by Caldecott Honor Book artist E.B. Lewis. Based on a true story.
Trouper ran with a mob of mutts who tripped over trash cans and pawed the cold streets for bones. They howled and cried and wished for a home. Until one day, the dogs are captured from off the streets and put in cages in a shelter as they wait to be adopted. Trouper watches sadly as, one by one, each of his dog friends are chosen. He’s the only one left until finally, one lucky day, just the right boy comes around and finds that this three-legged mutt is the perfect pet for him!
In poetic form, the three-legged Trouper gives a first-person account of his life as a shelter dog. From running free with a pack of dogs, scrounging for food, being enticed (with a steak) by the dog catcher, and dealing with cages of the shelter, Trouper watches as the other dogs are adopted. “My heart was a cold, starless night,” he narrates, while Lewis’ dark-blue painting of a lonely cage depicts this low point in the dog’s life. But when a little boy comes over to his cage, hope is renewed. Adopted, the dog finds love and acceptance and the freedom to run with the boy. Kearney bases the story on her own shelter dog, Trouper, while Lewis uses the real Trouper as the model for his heartwarming illustrations. The book presents a picture of shelters that is perhaps more hopeful than realistic—caring handlers; uncrowded, clean facilities; and a near-total adoption rate. Still, this is affecting material. Preschool-Grade 2. –J. B. Petty