Like a lot of little girls, Amelia desperately wants a dog. But not just any dog—Amelia wants a small brown dog with a wet pink nose. Despite her constant pleading, her well-meaning mother and father insist that their family just isn’t ready for a dog. Then clever Amelia decides to change her line of questioning. She asks them, “If we did have a dog and he got lost, would we find him and bring him back?” Amelia’s parents assure their daughter that if they had a dog who got lost, they wouldn’t stop looking until they found him.

And so Amelia creates an imaginary small brown dog named Bones, who snuggles up next to her in bed, eats the green veggies she doesn’t like at dinner and takes walks with her after school. Colorful, multi-textured illustrations from Scottish artist Linzie Hunter perfectly complement the story, giving the reader various incarnations of the adorable dog of Amelia’s dreams. Then one day, Amelia wakes up to find that Bones is gone. In a panic, she asks her parents if they can go looking for Bones—after all, they did promise her that if they ever lost their dog, they would stop at nothing to find him. Amelia and her parents search the town, but they can’t find Bones anywhere. Finally, Amelia suggests that they try the local animal shelter and, wouldn’t you know it, at last Amelia finds her small brown dog with a wet pink nose. While they may not be ready for a dog, Amelia’s parents realize their daughter is, and they agree to take the pup home. Overjoyed, Amelia whispers in her new friend’s ear, “If anybody asks, your name is Bones.”

Popular children’s author Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen has created a whimsical and inventive story for the legions of children always asking their parents for a dog. Young readers will love this funny, easy-to-follow story and the mixed-media artwork that accompanies it; and parents—well, you will be glad Amelia had this idea before one of your children did.

Abby Plesser lives with her own small brown dog, Cooper, in Nashville.

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