Mutt Dog, by Stephen Michael King

In the city there lives a dog who belongs to no-one. He spends his days searching for food and a place to sleep, until one day he chances upon a half way house, where people are lining up for food and a bed for the night.

The lady working at the refuge tries to turn the dog away but when he sneaks back in she relents and lets him stay the night. The next morning, she decides to offer the dog a home at her place in the country and soon the newly-christened Mutt Dog is settling in to life in a family.

This gorgeous new offering from the talented Stephen Michael King is a cute story about a dog but it is much more than just a dog story. Mutt Dog looks at issues of homelessness – both for animals and humans. It is no coincidence that Mutt Dog is picked up at a refuge for homeless people or that, while he is on the streets, he is surrounded by people who are in the same situation as he is. Probably the most telling part of the whole book is the line, when Mutt Dog discovers the half way house: There wasn’t enough room … or even enough food for a dog.

Mutt Dog will be enjoyed for its quirky illustrations and feel-good story but it will also pave the way for discussions, both in the classroom and at home, about the plight of the homeless.

Mutt Dog is a warm and touching combination of cute story and important subject matter which belongs in every home and library.

Mutt Dog, by Stephen Michael King
Scholastic, 2004