May I Pet Your Dog?
The How-to Guide for KIDS Meeting DOGS (and DOGS Meeting KIDS)
by Stephanie Calmenson
illustrated by Jan Ormerod
This how-to guide explains the best and safest way to deal with an unfamiliar dog. Harry the dachshund gives advice about how to approach a dog and its owner, how to pet a dog safely, how to recognize when a dog doesn’t want to be disturbed and what to do when a dog growls. Harry and his appealing dog friends conclude with a summary of doggie dos and don’ts. The author introduces the real Harry at the end and tells his story in words and photos. This reassuring, fact-filled guide is equally helpful for kids who love dogs and those who are afraid of them. Includes A Conversation With the Author.
ALA 2011 Notable Children’s Video Award
This adaptation of Stephanie Calmenson”s engaging dog meeting guide features iconographic images of Jan Ormerod’s warm, delightful illustrations and fast-paced, friendly, comforting narration. A dachshund named Harry good-naturedly instructs a little boy in the basics when encountering a dog: first ask the owner if you can pet the dog, put your handout for the dog to smell, and don’t reach over the dog’s head. Two of Harry’s canine friends reinforce the tips, helping the boy to correctly interact with an excited puppy, guide dog, and unfriendly pup. Harry cheerfully explains how to read cues, give commands, and skillfully and respectfully respond to encounters with aggressive dogs and other situations. Harry shares stories about his past as a neglected and fearful dog. The narrator matches the book’s gentle tone, helping children to master fears through solid information that encourages positive interactions between kids and all breeds of dogs.
Booklist Online, September, 2010
Offering an excellent primer for youngsters on how to approach strange dogs, this iconographic-animated adaptation is based on the picture book written by Stephanie Calmenson and illustrated by Jan Ormerod. Prefaced with a note to grownups concerning supervision and the importance of keeping children safe. May I Pet our Dog? Is the continuous question asked in this story that follows a “chocolate-dabbled” dachshund named Harry. A young boy asks Harry’s owner if it’s okay to pet him, and is advised to put the hand out with fingers down and approach from the side in a gentle fashion, after which friendly Harry says “I feel safe with you, you can pet me now.” Young viewers will meet other dogs who are wiggly and jumpy and uncomfortable with strangers (when encountering dogs exhibiting these behaviors, kids should avoid eye contact and retreat.) The program features solid tips such as using flat hands when giving treats, avoiding certain dogs (in cars; guide dogs, who are working; and dogs without owners), and not running or shouting around dogs, while also illustrating the important point that “dogs have feelings too”. DVD extras includes “Sharing My Story” conversation with Calmenson, who talks about her life with her real pet Harry. Highly recommended. (Starred Review)
Video Librarian, November/December 2010
Harry, a long-haired, chocolate-dappled dachshund, narrates this how-to guide for children and dogs who want to meet each other. He advises a young boy to always ask “May I pet your dog?” and wait for permission. After introducing dogs of different breeds and temperaments to the boy, Harry offers more sound advice: stay away from dogs without owners, don’t interrupt working dogs, and be gentle because dogs have feelings. Teaching both etiquette and respect for animals, Stephanie Calmenson’s book is based on her own dog who spent the first three months of his life in a cage waiting for the right owner. In a conversation with the author, she tells how gently introducing her own dog to young children helped him overcome his shyness and fear. Jan Omerod’s watercolor illustrations showing a wide variety of breeds are presented iconographically, as are photographs of the real Harry in two added sections. This practical, reassuring guide will be useful to all children, but especially to those who like dogs, but are a littler afraid of them.
School Library Journal, November 201