Charlie plays ball by Ree Drummond

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Ill. by Diane deGroat. HarperCollins, 2015. ISBN 9780062297525 (Age: Preschool - Yr 2) Charlie is a hard-working ranch dog. There is always so much to do on the ranch - riding, roping, feeding, fixing, and making sure pesky critters stay away from the homestead. But there's fun too, especially when it's time to play ball. His favourite is football, or is it soccer? Or basketball? Or something else?
This is a cheerful story that will appeal to all those who have dogs, or who would like one, and the ending will provide a laugh. Even though it is American it emphasises the fun dogs can offer as well as how they contribute so much to our lives in a practical way. Recently there was a news story about Molly, a little dog who accompanies twins to an ACT school because her super-sensitive nose can detect when their ketones change and they are in need of insulin, and this story about Charlie (who is real) could be a kick-starter to how dogs help us in everyday life. The children will be familiar with the work of guide dogs but there are all sorts of assistance dogs whose work is often unknown. Perhaps it is time to celebrate all that these fun, four-legged furry creatures do for us. Getting to know Charlie with his floppy ears, droopy eyes and short legs would be a great start.
Barbara Braxton