As a rather recent fan of Meindert DeJong, I just finished his Along Came a Dog as a read-aloud to the kids. I was already planning to blog about this book, as we enjoyed it immensely, but when Philip decided to use it for a school assignment in which he had to dress as a book character and perform a commercial for that book, I thought I'd use his commercial as part of my post.
From the perspective of the farmer:
I am a farmer, and I own a chicken farm. One spring, when I came to the chicken coop to let them out, the little red hen’s toes froze off because it was so cold. All the other chickens started pecking at her and tried to kill her because she had no toes. I made her some rubber flippers to help her walk, but they didn’t work very well so I sewed them to my jacket to help her perch on my shoulder. Then one day a dog came to the farm. He looked like a wild dog so I took him to the woods and left him. Then a few days later, the dog came back. I took him even farther into the woods. The next day, the dog came back again. The rooster was dead and the little red hen disappeared so I thought the dog killed them. When I next saw the dog, I realized he was a hero. To find out how that happened, you’ll have to read, Along Came a Dog.
This book is nearly 200 pages, but only divided into 10 chapters so we read it rather quickly. I would recommend it for any child or family who is interested in farming or farm animals. The insight into the world of chicken farming was thorough and fascinating. The relationship between the dog trying to adopt the farm and the red hen is tender and protective. I would recommend this book for upper elementary school as the world of chicken farming can be fraught with danger and several of the chickens in this book fall into some peril. However, the book is very well written. The suspense surrounding the dog lasts until nearly the end of the book but is rewarding in its completion. We're ready to try another DeJong book as a family read-aloud very soon.