Ben and the Scaredy-Dog

by Sarah Ellis and Kim LaFave

“When Ben looks at a dog he sees jaws and teeth. That’s a dog to Ben.... read more

“When Ben looks at a dog he sees jaws and teeth. That’s a dog to Ben. Jaws and teeth.” When Erv moves in next door to Ben and invites him over to play, Ben knows her dog, Max, will be there. But it turns out Max is scared too—of the shiny floors in his new home. Max has his big bulk contained on a tiny bath mat. When Ben is left alone for a moment with Max, he knows everything not to do: Don’t look him in the eye; don’t let him smell fear. So Ben shuts his eyes tight, and tries not to smell like anything. “Then he heard a sound. Tickety- tick. It was the sound of a dog’s toenails on a shiny floor.” Ben starts to hum nervously, and soon feels Max’s big bulk pressing into his side. When Ben finally risks a glimpse, “He didn’t see jaws and teeth. He saw a brave, friendly leaner.” The drama of the tickety-tick of Max’s claws and the huge shadow of Max that precedes his arrival at Ben’s side both amplify the tension, which in turn adds to the sweet relief of this warm, satisfying story. (Ages 3–7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

show less