Ragwood is a farm dog. He’s really, really good at it. Most dogs aren’t—but don’t despair: Ragweed is here to tell you exactly what to do.
Everyone on a farm has a job, and Ragwood can explain them all. Take pigs: Pigs lie in the mud all day. "That’s their job. That’s not your job. Don’t lie in the mud. Mud is lovely. It smells like worms and toes and earwax, so you will really, really want to lie in the mud.” And of course, every farm has chickens. Can you guess what a chicken's job is? Yup, you’ve got it: “Chickens sit on their nests all day to make eggs.” Now, is that a farm dog’s job? No. But would an aspiring farm dog WANT to sit on their nests? You betcha. But as you should take it from Ragweed, if you sit on the chickens’ nests, you will definitely NOT get a biscuit.
You see, the farm dog’s main job is to get biscuits. And just as Ragweed is spectacularly skilled at getting biscuits, author-illustrator Anne Vittur Kennedy is a wizard at creating a hilarious, warm-hearted picture book that future farm dogs (and their families, including parents) won’t tire of reading again and again. From its delicious voice, enticing refrains and satisfying conclusion, Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook is one of those deceptively simple but perfectly constructed picture books that should be part of every home—country or city. To paraphrase Ragweed, “You’re going to love this book.”
Deborah Hopkinson lives near Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book for young readers is Courage & Defiance.