Chance is a shelter dog who is given a "second chance," and he has a tale to tell about his adoption and his new family. When he is adopted from the shelter, he doesn't really understand what's happening. He has to ride in a car, which is very scary for him, to get to his new house where he is greeted by a pack of Pomeranians (not all of whom are friendly). In addition to the dogs, his pack also now consists of "Mommy" and the boy, Ryan. Mommy explains that Ryan is special, just like Chance, and was also adopted. Ryan, who is autistic, is the only person who can understand Chance and it is from Ryan that Chance learns the word "adoption" and what it means. Chance is delighted to learn that adoption "means to be loved forever" and he is eager to share that with the rest of his pack.
Filled with softly blended watercolor photos of the members of the family, this is a story told from Chance's point of view. The images form a lovely background for the text on each page, with a message that is both heartwarming and heartfelt. The storyline mirrors the life of the author, who adopted a similar set of dogs and has an adopted son with special needs. There were really a few main themes operating here; there was the idea of adoption and understanding what that meant, but also the theme of being different and how that makes one special. I think focusing on just one of those themes may have made for a more powerful story, but they are both wonderful themes to share with children.
A PBS Kids Recommended title, this title is listed on Amazon as being geared for ages 9-12. I felt the format and the premise of the story seemed geared for a younger age group, but the smaller font size, large amount of words on each page, and the overall writing was more fitting for older children. I think the story could be even stronger and fit a wider age group with fewer words on each page. That would make it an easy read-aloud for younger children, and a fun picture book for older children.
Altogether, this is a lovely read and a helpful aid in explaining adoption to older children.
3 /5 stars
Read an excerpt here.
Buy the book here.
Watch the book trailer:
You can find Sandra Gerencher on Facebook.