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The Picture Book Buzz

To Dogs, with Love - Perfect Picture Book Buzz #PPBF Plus Giveaway

Dogs can be amazing companions offering love, exercise, and companionship. They can also be life savers for veterans, individuals with medical issues or disabilities, and as search and rescue dogs. While these are services are widely known, dogs also are great at providing emotional support as therapy dogs. Helping kids (and adults) read, gain self-confidence, grieve, and deal with tough emotions or situations. This picture book is a loving letter of thanks to all dogs.

Book cover - a young girl and a big fluffy dog curl up together reading a book.

To Dogs, with Love: A Love Letter to the Dogs Who Help Us

Author: Maria Gianferrari

Illustrator: Ishaa Lobo

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillian Publishers (2023)

Ages: 3-6



Dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and thankfulness.


A book for anyone who has ever loved a dog.

Dear Dogs,

Thank you for being there when we are sick, or hurt, or in trouble.

Thank you for licks and hugs when we feel down, or just need to smile.

Thank you for all that you do, for always being at our sides.

This is our love letter to you!

Give thanks to every human's best friend, in this sweet and inclusive ode to dogs of all kinds - with an emphasis on service dogs - written by animal expert Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Ishaa Lobo.

Opening Lines:

Dear Dogs,

Thank you for your tails

That whip and thump and pump.

Even when they're stubs -

They bring joy.

What I LOVED about this book:

This beautiful picture book is a loving, lyrical ode to dogs, especially service dogs in libraries, homes, courtrooms. prisons. grief support, hospitals, and during other crises. There is something super light-hearted and humorous about beginning this love letter to dogs with their behinds and tails! 😊

internal spread - six different dogs tails curly, fluffy, long & skinny, short & bushy, tight curl, and a tight stub.

Text © Maria Gianferrari, 2023. Image © Ishaa Lobo, 2023.

Although Maria Gianferrari lyrically celebrates the tails, ears, eyes, fur, paws, tongues, noses, heads, and companionship of dogs, she never mentions any specific type of doggy service job within the text. Ishaa Lobo beautifully collaborates and enhances the lyrical wording, showing us lots of ways that dogs help us during times of crisis and in our everyday lives. For instance, after thanking dogs for "your fur, / Long/ or short, / Coiffed/ or curly -"

Internal spread - on left, female judge looking at a young boy in the witness box with a dog attentively next to him. On right, boy hugging the dog in a "courtroom support dog" vest.

Text © Maria Gianferrari, 2023. Image © Ishaa Lobo, 2023.

Fuzzy for nuzzling,

Gifting comfort.

The text offers us the final wonderful characteristic of a dog's fur, while the illustration offers a brief window into a courtroom and the comfort which a fuzzy, snuggling dog can offer This is such an important job for a comfort dog and I wish there were more courtrooms (and perhaps immigration centers) with them. They can be so helpful for kids (and adults). Ishaa's soft, colorful, digital illustrations perfectly set the comforting tone of the book and at times look like they could be cut-paper illustrations.

I particularly love Ishaa's creation of a subtle "main character" with a boy and his English sheep dog - who appear on the title page, the street outside the bakery, a double spread celebrating the companionship of dogs in our everyday lives, and at the end.

Internal image - cameos of a young boy and his English sheep dog running in a field, sitting together as he took of his shos, lying ong th floor reading together. On the right, snuggled together alseep in bed.

Text © Maria Gianferrari, 2023. Image © Ishaa Lobo, 2023.

While I knew many of the ways dogs assist us - seeing eye dogs, medical assistance (epilepsy) dogs, and K-9 dogs - Maria and Ishaa do a great job highlighting some lesser known or noticeable careers for therapy dogs. I loved the hospital therapy dog scenes, the prison dog training program spread, and most of all the grief dog helping two kids after a funeral.

You'll love the fun ending which brings together many of the owners and dogs. It includes a brief note on therapy dogs and the Puppies Behind Bars program and well as information and resources about each of the therapy dogs highlighted throughout the book. As a craft note - this is a wonderful mentor text for studying the interactive partnership of text and illustration. While each is individually amazing, together they create a truly stunning picture book. This is a delightful celebration of therapy dogs which will be cherished by dog and animal lovers alike.


Photo of a toilet paper roll marionette dog.
Collage photo with four of 25 dog crafts  - book mark, origami, paper dog, and puppet.

  • do you have a pet? What do you love about them? If you don't have a pet, what pet would you want and why?

  • See if your library or nearby shelter has a reading program with dogs. Or ask if you can make fleece blankets for the shelter's dogs (and cats).

🎉 Book Giveaway for To Dogs, with Love  🎉

Awesome news! Maria Gianferrari is offering a copy of To Dogs, with Love to one lucky reader.

- Simply comment below and/or on the interview post (here) to be entered in the random drawing on December 12th at 11:59 pm PT.

- Be sure to say where (if) you shared the post (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Bluesky), and I'll add additional entries for you.

- Sorry US Residents only.

If you missed the interview with Maria Gianferrari and Ishaa Lobo on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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