“Shoe Dog” by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson


Shoe Dog is a new picture book from the creative team of Megan McDonald and Katherine Tillotson. McDonald is the author of the Judy Moody books. She and Tillotson also collaborated on It’s Picture Day Today! and When the Library Lights Go Out.

In their new book, a terrier puppy is adopted from a shelter and taken to a “real” home, full of nose kisses, tummy rubs, room to run, and things to chew. But not just any old thing to chew. He wants shoes! This prompts his new guardian to dub him Shoe Dog. And in his mind, Shoe Dog refers to his owner as She, Herself.

Shoe Dog isn’t picky. He will chew on high heels, flip-flops, or boots. But he especially likes the sound of tissue paper being rustled in a box with new shoes.

Shoe Dog’s behavior determines whether he sleeps in the Land of Upstairs or downstairs with the mop. And he certainly doesn’t want to return to the Land of Sad Puppies and Scratched-Up Cats and One-Eared Bunnies.

What’s a dog to do? Correct his behavior, of course, and Shoe Dog certainly does.

Shoe Dog is a good lesson in behavior and consequences for young people. McDonald also introduces descriptions (new box, big bed, cozy covers, noisy paper, etc.) and even beginning math concepts (“Shoe Dog chewed through five high heels, four flip-flops, three sneakers, two boots, and one wing tip.”)

Much of the book’s charm is delivered through the illustrations. Images on the page are collaged textures created through crayon rubbings. Shoe Dog isn’t much more than a scribble, but it’s a scribble with bound energy.

McDonald dedicates the book: “For Katherine, whose original painting of Shoe Dog inspired this story.”

I think I’d like to meet that dog.

Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, ISBN 9781416979326, March 25, 2014, recommended for ages 4 to 8.) 


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay