Not Afraid of Dogs
Written by Susanna Pitzer
Illustrated by Larry Day
Children's book review by P.J. Rooks
Blustering, swaggering Daniel is not afraid of anything. He's not afraid of spiders, huff puff. He's not afraid of snakes, huff puff. He's not afraid of thunderstorms, huff puff. He's not afraid of… wait, is that a dog? Yikes! And here in his own home, his sanctuary! How could his mother do this to him? How could she?
Well, it's all simple enough. Aunt Rose has no place for her (really cute) little dog, Bandit, to stay, so Bandit will be visiting Daniel and his family for a few days.
Oh, the treachery of it all! Daniel will be staying in his room until this horrible creature is gone! And, let's be crystal clear on this: Daniel is not afraid of dogs (contrary to the incessant needling from sister, Jenny) -- he simply does not like them.
Nature calls in the middle of the night, however, and Daniel finds that he will need to relax his rules a bit or suffer the consequences. With a thunderstorm raging outside, he creeps out into the dark house, checking around the corner for any signs of the dog. Looks like the coast is clear. He bolts for the bathroom -- only to find Bandit hiding behind the toilet, howling in fear of the thunder and lightning! Likewise, Daniel is frozen on the spot. When he's able to move, he springs for the safety of the bathtub.
Now Bandit, being a member of the "man's best friend" class of animal, cannot fathom why anyone would be hiding from her. She approaches the bathtub, continuing to howl. Surely this nice human can help her. Surely.
As Daniel cowers in the tub, he finally realizes that Bandit is not trying to get him. Slowly it dawns on him that this poor, miserable pup is just scared of the storm.
Tentatively, he holds out one probing finger. Bandit licks it. He strokes her soft fur. She settles a bit. Even though he is afraid, Daniel climbs out of the bathtub and holds the quaking little dog.
It is easy to fall in love with a dog and it looks like Bandit will be sleeping in Daniel's bed tonight. After all, Daniel is not afraid of anything and, well, he does like dogs.
This is a great story of fears overcome and love realized. Bandit is a charming little thing, expressive and memorable -- so memorable, in fact, that my three-year-old asked for "the book about Bandit" roughly six months after we'd returned it to the library. It took me forever to figure out that she was talking about Not Afraid of Dogs. Now on its third visit to our home, Susanna Pitzer's sweet tale of puppy love never fails to be a favorite.
Read more of P.J.'s reviews.
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