Job Wanted by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Chris Sheban
This is a heart-warming picture book about a dog looking for a home and willing to do whatever it takes to be accepted into his new place. When the homeless dog, hungry and tired, comes to a farm, he asks the farmer if he needs a dog. But the farmer says no, dogs eat up his food, but don’t do any work to earn their keep. But the farmer does need cows, horses, and chickens, so the industrious and good-natured dog tries out for a position as each farm animal: he herds the cows into the barn and gets them in their stalls ready to be milked, he runs ahead of the horse holding carrots in his mouth so the plowing is done in record time, and he cleans out the henhouse. The farmer is appreciative, but still doesn’t want the dog to stay. Then a fox shows up and it is the dog who saves the hens by barking and scaring off the fox. After this, the farmer accepts the dog as a dog and allows him to stay on the farm. The final page shows the farmer hugging the dog. Soft watercolor illustrations add light and humorous touches to the book. I like this book because, as a huge dog lover, I think it does a fine job of showing us the resiliency of dogs and how hard they try to please their humans and how good-natured and adaptable they are. I also like that, in the end, the farmer realizes the value of the dog and is kind to him and welcomes him. The story is also a good lesson for children about trying hard, not giving up, and shining as you are without needing to try to be something you aren’t.