The Blue House Dog

A boy without a dog—and a dog without an owner—find each other in this powerfully moving story of loneliness and redemption.
Price: $16.95
  • ISBN: 9781561455379
  • Publication date: 08/01/2010
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 10-7/8" x 9-7/8"
  • Age Range: 4-8


A boy without a dog—and a dog without an owner—find each other in this powerfully moving story of loneliness and redemption.

Day after day, Cody watches Bones roam the streets. No one else thinks the old stray is special, but Cody does. He knows the dog is alone now. He watched them tear down the blue house where Bones used to live with an old man. Cody knows how it feels to lose someone, too. Slowly—cautiously—Cody opens his home and his heart to the scruffy dog with one blue eye and one brown.

Inspired by the true story reported in the New York Times about a homeless dog in a suburban New York neighborhood, readers will be deeply affected by Deborah Blumenthal’s story of love and loss. Adam Gustavson’s full-color illustrations beautifully depict quiet neighborhood life, and highlight the emerging relationship between the narrator and the lonely, dispirited dog that captures his attention, and finally, his heart.


Deborah Blumenthal


Deborah Blumenthal has written many children’s books, including two Book Sense 76 winners. She has also been a regular contributor to The New York Times, covering beauty and fitness. She lives in New York.

Adam Gustavson


Adam Gustavson is the illustrator of more than twenty books for children, as well as numerous periodicals. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey.


“This gentle story may help pet owners following a loss and also illuminates the caring qualities that lead to trust, healing, and friendship.” ―School Library Journal

“Lyrical prose and Gustavson’s lush paintings have the impact of a documentary film… emotions are raw and authentic, while the way in which they’re delivered is elegant-a potent combination.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Sensitively constructed oil paintings communicate the anxious fear of the stray dog as well as the boy’s earnest attempts to help… dog lovers will enjoy the story of this helpful boy and his newfound canine companion.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Perceptive art and emotive, free verse-style text work well together… The redemptive power of friendship is beautifully shown…” ―Booklist

“Illustrations, done in rich oils, perfectly match the story’s tone.” ―Library Media Connection

“Paired with Adam Gustavson’s oil illustrations, this book will strike a chord in readers young and old…” ―Midwest Book Review

“An affecting tale that touches the heart with its messages about love, loss, and the unspoken ties which bring dogs and human beings together.” ―Spirituality & Practice Online Magazine

“Perfectly rendered in every way…” ―Books to Borrow, Books to Buy

“Throughout this tug-at-your-heartstrings story, Cody and Bones cautiously grow closer, both are afraid of being hurt again. They both must relearn how to love and trust…” ―Dakota’s Den

“The Blue House Dog is one of the finest picture books to be released in recent years. Its poetry, metaphor and beauty touch a chord in all who read it – even those who are not animal lovers. Adults as well as younger readers will appreciate the brilliant language and lovely imagery.” ―

“A sweet ending for any pet lover, and meaningful message: just because you’re lost in life doesn’t mean you’re totally alone.” ―People Pets


Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts Picture Books) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2011

Show Me Readers Award (Nominee) ―Missouri Association of School Librarians, 2012-2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2011

Keystone to Reading Book Award (Nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association, 2011-2012

Mark Twain Readers Award (Nominee) ―Missouri Association of School Librarians, 2012-2013

South Carolina Picture Book Award (Nominee) ―South Carolina Association of School Librarians, 2012-2013

Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List (Primary) ―New York State Reading Association, 2012

More Details

AR Level: 3.4
F&P: GRL S, Gr 4, Genre RF
Lexile: AD750L
Themes: Grief, Pets, Relationships
BISAC 1: JUV002070 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Dogs
BISAC 3: JUV039030 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Death & Dying

Books By Deborah Blumenthal