My own synopsis of the whole story, in haiku?
Stray dog on the porch.
Mom and three kids fall for him,
Though he makes a mess.
Look at the inviting cover of a black-nosed, floppy-eared dog staring at you through the window of the storm door. Who wouldn't want to open the door and let such a winsome dog into their lives? Check out the endpapers, with little brown dogprints across the floor tiles. On the title page, you see the scraggly white mutt with wistful eyes trudging down the sidewalk. Then there's the first full-page painting, of Mom in her pink bathrobe, looking out through the kitchen door at the dog looking in:
"There on the back steps,
the eyes of a hungry dog.
Will she shut the door?"
Of course she won't. Mom feeds him and gives him a sudsy bath in the tub. The three kids, two boys and a girl are elated to discover a dog in the house. Dad has his hand to his head, looking bemused. The kids feed the eager pup scraps at the breakfast table:
"A dog needs a name.
Rags? Mutt? Pooch? No, not Rover.
Mooch. Yes, Mooch! Perfect."
The three kids race off to catch the school bus, leaving Mooch with Mom. Left to his own devices while Mom is in the garden, he chews the laundry, and rolls in the trash from the kitchen. When Dad gets home, there's a family meeting of "words and words and words"-"Did someone say 'pound?'" Will dad let Mooch stay? Of course.
THEMES: DOGS. FAMILY LIFE. HAIKU. POETRY.
Suggested Ages: 4-9