JJ The American Street Dog and How He Came to Live in Our House is a feel-good childrens’ book with real-world impact, written by Diane-Rose Solomon and illustrated by Rachel Cellinese.
Unlike many other books for children, JJ The American Street Dog is story that has relevance every day, especially because for many, the image of a family is oftentimes incomplete without the family dog. This lovely book can teach many young kids about the complex world of dogs as pets, through their own perspective, and in a simple but elegant way.
The short story tells the tale of a young girl (unnamed in the story, but as a nameless protagonist she can easily represent any child anywhere at this moment) who has yearned for a pet dog. Her family takes in, by chance, a stray dog found digging through the trash by their uncle. The dog, who they name JJ, is good-natured, unique, and even gets along with the family cat.
The centerpiece of the story, the moment that, to me, becomes most emotionally stirring, is when the family takes JJ to the vet. Here, they find that JJ has fleas and worms, which the vet says may be because he was neglected. The young girl asks why the dog was neglected, and the vet replies, “there are many homeless animals…some on the streets like JJ, and many others at shelters. There are wonderful organizations that rescue abused, neglected and homeless animals from the streets and shelters and place them in loving homes. If you end up adopting JJ, that would be another dog rescued.”
This lovely passage is accompanied by a two page illustration, a scene at a rescue where a myriad of dogs are being played with by potential new homes. The mom replies, “Well, I had no idea. I thought we were going to buy a dog. This changes everything.”
At the heart of this sweet story is a real message, one that not only could teach a child but a parent as well. Sometimes adopting a neglected animal sounds like the most obvious solution, but for many it is not, and this book is doing a great service to companion animals everywhere by telling the story of JJ (who is based off a real life rescued dog).
The author notes this book is just the beginning in a “JJ” series, coming soon. I would gladly buy as a gift or recommend this book series to new parents. Even those that are not looking for a dog, but any companion animal, can learn from JJ’s story. From dogs, to cats, to rabbits, to any and all domesticated animals, any animal in a shelter could be JJ.
Gratitude and thanks to Diana Rose-Solomon for graciously sending us a copy of her book to read.
Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed here are those of YDV and derived from personal experience. These opinions are not influenced in any way by the receipt of goods or services. We will always notify you when a product has been given to us to review, test, use, or talk about.