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Author: Hughes, Alison
Illustrator: Spires, Ashley
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 978-1459807044
Grades: Grade 1, Grade 2

Spare Dog Parts

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Edmonton writer Alison Hughes has penned an ode to the lowly mutt in this charming picture book. A young protagonist wonders how her mutt came to be. After all, nothing really matches, not her paws or her body or her ears or her tail. She imagines herself creating her dog out of spare dog parts, which she finds in the sewing room, a shed, and an imaginary dog parts store. The girl is set up as a lab-coated creator of a Frankenstein-looking dog, with sewn-together bits and pieces, but she always establishes that her creation has a heart of gold. The body, made up of ‘leftover wiry, scruffy fur’, is ‘perfect for cuddling’, and the mismatched legs are great for a walk in the woods with friends. Even though her dog doesn‘t have much of a brain, she knows enough to love her owner. In the final spread, Spires shows the mutt shedding her Frankenstienish stitches and nails, showing her to be a true mutt, all mismatched, but lovely and loved. While children might find it confusing that the dog portrayed in the illustrations is indeed a real dog, the message that it is the heart of the dog that matters will come through loud and clear.

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