Orchard Books, 2012
$16.99, ages 3 and up, 40 pages
A little girl sees just what she wants to see in a big, rough-and-tumble stray, in this joyful celebration of positive thinking.
One morning Lily lifts her chin just enough to see out of her bedroom window and spots a giant animal rummaging through her garbage can.
Thinking nothing of the fruit peels and tin cans flying through the air, she decides right there that this guy's everything she ever wanted in a pet: he's got four legs, a tail and a big, wet nose.
"Doggy!" she cries, running out in the yard in her galoshes, flinging her arms up in delight.
Now face-to-face with this barreling fellow, she realizes he's a lot bigger than she thought and when he growls he sounds a bit grouchy.
But no matter because Lily thinks he's lovely. All he needs, she tells herself, is a good looking-after.
So Lily sets off to do just that. She ties her extra-long striped purple scarf around his neck and a bright yellow bow on his head, and walks him into her house to see if mom will let her keep him.
Mom, who doesn't seem to notice that Doggy is not exactly a dog, calmly explains that Doggy isn't theirs to keep. He must belong to someone, she tells Lily, and the owner is probably missing him a great deal. So no, Lily can't possibly keep him.
This is not at all what Lily had hoped to hear, but she knows Mom is probably right. So she plunks down on the floor next to Doggy to make a missing pet poster with crayons and paper.
Lily has lots of descriptive details to put under the word "Found!" because there's so much she loves about Doggy.
First of all, there's his girth and fur, "big and shaggy," and his paws, "very big." Then, of course, there's the fact that he's very silly -- he doesn't act at all like a dog.
For one, Doggy doesn't touch his dog food (he prefers what's in the refrigerator), and though he loves the park, he won't let her walk him there.
He also doesn't take to tricks or listen. (When she gives him a command at the park, he dozes on his back, paws up and when she throws things to fetch, he swallows them. Oops.)
Honestly, "he never, ever, ever…does what you tell him," she writes, as Doggy chases other dogs and rubs his fanny on a tree.
That is, she adds, "unless you ask him nicely" (and he's finished licking the inside of an ice cream vending cart.)
Then with a sticky muzzle, he lets Lily ride him back home, unaware of what awaits -- a scrub in a bubble bath and a clean new ribbon.
Sure Doggy grouses about all this, but once Lily's done and gives him a tummy scratch, he's as happy as can be.
Well now that Lily's got all the facts down on the poster, it's time to tack it up on a tree -- and reluctantly that's just what she does.
Walking away with heavy feet, Lily hopes that no one will see it. But of course someone does: an official-looking someone in a khaki zoo shirt and shorts.
Oh dear. Lily is sad to see Doggy go. But she won't be glum for long. Outside another wonderful something has shown up in the yard. This time it's huge and tawny with black stripes, and he's just what she always wanted too.
Perhaps someone needs to tell Lily about the hole in the fence at the zoo.
Silly Doggy! is delightful tale about diving into life heart-first and loving without limits -- a great book to inspire any child to be bold and brave.