Maria Gianferrari knows about the closeness of a girl and her dog (just ask her dog Becca), so many of her books feature a dog character. In Hello Goodbye Dog, Moose is a loving dog who just wants to be with her girl. There is nothing Moose loves better than hello. When her girl Zara has to go to school, Moose escapes from the house again and again to find Zara and experience hello. Since dogs aren't allowed at school, Zara comes up with a wonderful idea to help Moose avoid goodbyes.
Patrice Barton's illustrations bring Moose to life with an expressive face and tail. We see Moose sporting a wide-mouthed grin from behind a stack of books on the title page. Her eyes are closed in contentment and her tail does small happy circles as she and Zara share a hello hug. When the door of the house shuts her in, we can see her drooping ears and sad eyes through the screen. And I'm pretty sure that's a smirk on her face as she races around the cafeteria playing tag with the principal.
As much fun as the pictures are, the text tells us exactly how Moose feels. "Hello was ride in the car." "Hello was a pat on the head." "Hello was having a book and someone to read it to you." But goodbye is another thing entirely. "Goodbye was a closing door." "Goodbye was hide without seek." "Goodbye was being alone." Who could blame Moose for hating goodbye? It's a good thing that Zara is a very smart girl who finds the perfect solution.
Another feature of the book is that Zara is in a wheelchair. Nothing is mentioned about why she needs the chair, and it is not brought up or made a big deal of. The only mention of wheelchairs at all is when Moose attends therapy dog school. A page in the back shows photos of kids reading with therapy dogs and lets readers understand that there are dogs like Moose who love to be read to. Websites for more information are also listed.
Highly recommended for dog and book lovers of all ages.