Looking for Rex by Jan Ormerod

cover image

Ill. by Carol Thompson. Little Hare, 2012. ISBN 1921541482.
(Ages 5+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Animals. An absolutely delightful story of getting a pet for Grandpa, this tale will trip the hearts of those who read it and take in the glorious illustrations. Grandpa's wife has died and the family is worried that he is lonely, so the children decide that a dog would be a good companion. The first few pages show him sitting alone in his house, filling his time with TV, gardening, looking at the birds and just sitting. The illustrations fill the pages with bright cheery pictures of his family and the lonely old man sitting, lying or walking by himself.
He initially rejects the idea, but as time goes on the idea of Rex looms large, as he sees many dogs in his neighbourhood, in the street, when he is out walking. All sorts of dogs are looked at and rejected by both Grandpa and the family, and a plethora of animals skip and jump across the pages in this endearing book.
He goes away to his caravan for the weekend, thinking about how dangerous a dog may be for a frail old man, and wondering what would happen to it when he becomes too old to care for it. In deciding that Rex is not for him, he cycles to his family's house to find that they have solved all of his questions and concerns.
A wonderful story of love and family, of loss and companionship, of the place of animals in one's life, of loneliness and grief, this will be read over and over again by young readers, parents and teachers to gain a wider understanding of youth and age, and just to appreciate a good story well told and beautifully illustrated.
Fran Knight