The Market Square Dog – A Review

                      Photo: amazon.com

Something about a puppy picture book brings out the kid in all of us. I mean, how can you resist spending 15 minutes of your precious life awwing over sweet illustrations of big-eyed, innocent puppy dogs?

This was my dilemma when I was at a local thrift shop a couple of months ago.

The store had just received a large donation of books of all kinds – chapter books, how-to books, sappy romance novels, those “motivational” books that people buy on a whim and never read…And as I was clawing through the boxes of these treasures, I stumbled across James Herriot’s picture book, The Market Square Dog.

I LOVE James Herriot. I found All Creatures Great and Small at a thrift shop about a year and a half ago, and I fell in love with the world of the Yorkshire vet. While I am not a fan of the crude elements in many of his stories (such as sticking one’s hand in a cow and letting language fly like frisbees), I considered James, Tristan, and Sigfried some of my favorite literary characters. (That Tristan…he cracks me up!)

So, when I found this picture book, I had a little battle in my head. One side of me said, when am I going to use a picture book, of all things? It’s just going to be a waste of money that clutters up my already too-small bookshelf. And then, the other side of me pointed out that I probably wouldn’t find a book like this everyday – the sweetest little picture book by James Herriot, no less, that cost me less than a Big Mac.

Guess which side won?

The Market Square Dog follows the story of James Herriot, the British vet, as he interacts with the village stray. The market square dog wanders the village square on Mondays, when the farmers come into town to sell their goods. Dr. Herriot spies the little dog while he is in the market one day, and he cannot help but regard him with amusement and atypical veterinary appreciation.

One day, Dr. Herriot and his wife, Helen, are getting read to go out for a day at the races when a policeman rings their doorbell. The constable has found the little puppy, badly hurt, on the side of a road and brought him to Dr. Herriot for some much needed medical attention.

Dr. Herriot and Helen forgo their day at the races to help the injured canine. As the story progresses, Dr. Herriot grows concerned not only about the pup’s medical welfare, but also about his life on the street. Will the poor, battered stray find the loving home he so deeply deserves?

This book exemplifies classic James Herriot writing in a way that is appropriate for young readers. Devoid of any compromising content, The Market Square Dog will captivate little ones with its adorable story and sweet watercolor illustrations by Ruth Brown. Even if you’re not a James Herriot fan, you will not regret purchasing this book for the kiddos in your life because a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures in this book are worth about a million.

Snag a copy of The Market Square Dog and curl up with your children (and your dog) to traipse off into the simpler world of a Yorkshire vet and a lonely mutt who finds a friend.

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