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Cover image for Before you were mine
Before you were mine
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam, 2008.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 24 cm
A young boy imagines what his rescued dog's life might have been like before he adopted him.
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A little boy imagines what life was like for his new dog before he adopted him from a shelter. Maybe he had a boy who loved him, but the family had to move and couldn't keep him. Maybe he belonged to someone who didn't appreciate how mischievous puppies can be. Maybe he was treated badly, and now he can be shown all the love he's been missing. This boy wonders about all of these things, but maybe they don't matter. Because now, his dog is home .

Author Notes

Maribeth Boelts and her family live in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Their second rescued dog, Dixie, lives happily with them.

David Walker lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Every dog he's had has been rescued, but he's always felt like the lucky one.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-In simple, yet heart-touching text, a young boy asks his new puppy what it's life was like before being adopted by the child. Did he belong to a nice family who had to give him up? Did he run away? Was he abandoned? Did he live on the streets, trying to find food and shelter? The boy explains that he lost his former dog to old age and thought that he would never have another pet to love. His family visited an animal shelter and now the puppy has a home, and the boy has a friend. As Pamela Arkin reads the gentle text written by Maribeth Boelts (Putnam, 2007), David Walker's soft-edged, warm illustrations are scanned iconographically with some minor animation added. The program ends with a visit to an actual animal shelter, and viewers are urged to adopt an animal and give it a "forever family." This sweet, gentle story will touch youngsters.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

"Before you were mine . . . " wonders a little boy, "[d]id you live in a warm house with warm smells and a rug that was only yours? [Or were] you kept on a chain, with a dusty bowl and lonely sounds all around?" Never varying from this direct address, the little boy speculates about the life his dog may have led before being adopted from the shelter. He imagines happiness, cruelty, misfortune, neglect: "[Maybe] you ran away and they never heard that if your dog runs away, you look for him . . . until you find him." Softly framed pastel panels and vignettes depict a round, mustard-colored little mutt playing with an imagined boy, making puppy-mischief, alone and scared, before being taken to the shelter for "a meal, and a bath, and a bed of your own" before coming home with the narrator. Boelts's restrained text and Walker's affecting illustrations combine to pack a small wallop directly to the hearts of dog-loving children who will almost certainly give their pets an extra hug afterwards. A note on adopting a shelter pet follows this unabashedly emotional offering. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Cozy, soft-edged pictures of an adorable dog characterize this warmhearted book in which a boy, whose dog has died, gets another dog from a shelter. The young narrator, thrilled with his new pet, speculates about the dog's past in a series of questions. He imagines another boy loving the dog and playing with it: Was your boy proud when you learned a trick? Did he talk about you at recess?  He pictures the dog as a lively puppy whose owners were annoyed by his chewing and digging, and in a few imagined scenes, the dog appears neglected and unhappy. But the story comes full circle as the narrator welcomes the shivering stray into its friendly new home. The pastel illustrations use a variety of layouts to infuse the story with emotion, and an author's note speaks of the ripple of hope created when someone adopts a dog. Children are likely to beg their parents for a trip to the shelter after reading this moving book.--Odean, Kathleen Copyright 2007 Booklist