In libraries across the country there are programs for reluctant readers known as Paws for Reading. This program opens up the world for many readers which gives humans another reason to call dogs man's best friend. What is the inspiration for this program? It must be due to the fact that dogs, children and books are a natural fit. It's actually proven historically that dogs have helped children of all ages enjoy a good book. Okay, so the dogs are fictional but they are young reader's best friend just the same.
Everyone can remember their favorite canine character from childhood tales. Each of these pups have characteristics that make them memorable. First, they work their way into a child's imagination and grab hold of their hearts. Either it's by their clumsiness or inquisitive nature. It could be a combination of both. Second, their stories are relatable, such as getting lost or going to school. Every child has or will have experienced these events in their lives. Third, they keep the readers coming back for more. This is true from the parents perspective. Often parents will read books to their children that their parents read to them as a child. The love for the character can go on for generations.
Each of these dogs are wonderful and unique in their own way. They come in all different sizes, colors and breads. Some are small like Flack's Angus who gets lost. Some have political ambition and can spin a interesting tale like Teague's Larue. Other small dogs, like Shannon's Fergus who stays one step ahead of trouble. Day's Carl provides readers with a dog's view of a day at the beach. While others have a big heart and adopt a penguin like Kellogg's Pinkerton. Of course, it would be a shame not to mention the largest dog, Bridwell's Clifford. Each of these dogs have romped through the pages of picture books creating hours of enjoyment for young readers. Which just proves the original point, dogs, books and children really are good together.
Finding the right dog and the right book is not a simple task. Basically because it is hard to pick a favorite. Why not help young reader's find a favorite by featuring one of these characters in a story time, book display or on the library's website. Children's librarian may want to start with their own personal favorite. Books are always better when they are shared.