Have a box of tissues ready if you plan on reading Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp. This is a “hard tug” at the heartstrings picture book.
Madeline Finn and her dog, Star, must pass three tests for Star to become a therapy dog. And while most people take to Star (and him to them) at the nursing home where he is taking his tests, there is one person that seems to be immune to Star’s charms. But Madeline Finn knows what to do. Just like someone once did for her, she knows she must be patient and find a different approach. While Papp’s story is a bit overly sentimental for my personal tastes, it is a lovely book that most people will enjoy (even if you are not a dog fan or in need of a therapy dog).
The idea of using a dog to connect with people is not a new concept. In fact, Madeline Finn showed up in a previous book, Madeline Finn and the Library Dog where she learns to read. (The paper edition came out this past March 2020). Both books include therapy dogs, reading and generations coming together. It is a cozy, safe book. The child might wonder if Star and Madeline will be able to reach the man that is distant, but you the adult know things are okay.
The illustrations are also cozy. They are busy detailed but not to the point of distraction. They are setting the scene and the mood. And while not boldly colored, they are not faded either. All ages can enjoy this book. However, it is a bit on the longer side, so the younger reader/listeners might only start with reading the art.
I was not aware that there is also a third book, Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog as well. And one can assume that there will be more fun to come.