Ultimately Argo and the boy both come to understand that they are safe and loved, even when times are tough. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this lesson involves the healthy expression of anger. When Argo chews up one of the boy’s favorite toys, the boy initially gets upset and yells at his pet – but then he realizes Argo looks scared as a result of his outburst. “I’m mad, but I still love you,” he tells the dog. The boy’s empathy and self-awareness will help children and their parents consider their own reactions when they get mad, as well as how to handle strong emotions in the future.
Erich Ippen Jr.’s colorful, soft-edged illustrations give depth to the story by offering hints to the characters’ pasts. Argo, for instance, was born in an alley and spent part of his life chained up in a barren backyard, and the boy is shown sitting alone in a crib while two adults argue in the next room. These emotional illustrations will give kids plenty of chances to ask questions and reflect on their own experiences and fears. Ultimately this touching tale speaks volumes about overcoming trauma and the value of family—in all its many forms.
Takeaway: A little boy learns the meaning of love, trust, and family alongside his rescue dog, Argo.
Great for fans of: Simon James’s Mr. Scruff, Lisa Papp’s Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A