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The Stray Dog

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,224 ratings  ·  138 reviews
When a little dog appears at a family picnic, the girl and boy play with him all afternoon, and they name him Willy. At day's end they say good-bye. But the dog has won their hearts and stays on their minds.

The following Saturday the family returns to the picnic grounds to look for Willy, but they are not alone -- the dogcatcher is looking for him, too . . .

Caldecott Medal
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by HarperCollins (first published December 23rd 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,836)
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Lisa Vegan
Mar 09, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers, anyone who has adopted or saved a stray dog
Charming illustrations! In particular, the many dogs are great, including the main dog, Willy, who’s adorable. I felt joy while viewing each illustration, and it’s fun to search and find Willy on the second to last page.

The story might feel a bit suspenseful for young children or others who won’t recognize the formula ahead of time. I had a bit of a hard time with the family’s original decision, although I did understand it. Overall, I ended up liking the story, even though I have mixed feelings
Apr 29, 2011 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Lisa Vegan--thank you!
A heartwarming story of a stray dog and the family who meets him on a picnic one day. They leave him after their day of fun, thinking he must have a family (or using this as an excuse not to worry about him) but the children--and even Mom and Dad!--can't stop thinking about him. Will he be there when they go back? There are some harrowing moments before the eventual happy ending, and I just love that, wrapped in the simplicity of this story, are so many moments of humor, suspense, pathos, joy an ...more
 (NS) Amie
The Stray Dog was my favorite book this week. I actually read it twice and learned so much more the second time around. This true story is about Willy, a stray dog who spends the afternoon with a family picnicing in the park, and they all are forever changed by it. They leave the dog behind with the excuse that it must be someone else's, but as the week goes by, they can't get Willy out of their minds. They go back to the same park to picnic again in hopes of seeing Willy. When Willy rushes past ...more
The Stray Dog by Marc Simont is a Caldecott Honor book about a family who encounters a stray dog at a park. This story really resonates with me, since my family adopted a stray dog that looked a bit like Willy after he was apparently dumped near our farm.

Simont uses short sentences to tell the simple, emotional, appealing true story of a family that adopts a stray dog. Initially after playing with the dog all day, the family leaves him, thinking the dog may belong to some other family. The next
Eva Leger
*I'm not sure why this isn't already listed because I'm positive that we've taken this from the library and read it months ago.*
This book is about a family on a picnic who sees a dog while in the park. The kids ask the parents to keep the dog and are told no but throughout the next week everyone in the family, including the parents, are thinking about this little dog.
The next weekend the family is again at the park having a picnic but this time something is different. Two little bowls sit off t
Jordan Caton
The Stray Dog was one of the books I chose for my picture storybook. This book is about a dog named Willy who was found in the park by a family having a picnic. Because they thought he probably belonged to someone, they didn't take him home but the whole family was sad about it. On another trip to the park, the family spots Willy being captured by the dog catcher and claims the dog. This story was cute and I think kids would enjoy it.

This book was a Caldecott award winner. I really enjoyed the i
Title: The Stray dog
Author: Reiko Sassa. Retold by Marc Simont
Illustrator: Marc Simont
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year originally published:2001
Translator (if applicable):
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Format (picture book, audio book, book read online, chapter book/novel, graphic novel): Picture book
Rating system: ****
Brief summary: This is a heartwarming book that tells how a family saved a stray dog from the clutches of a dogcatcher by claiming that it belongs to them. The pic
When a family meets a stray dog while in the park for a picnic they have a hard time parting with it after a day of fun. They even name the dog Willy. Despite wanting to take the dog home, they leave the dog just in case someone is looking for him. All week long the family thinks about Willy. When they return to the park they see Willy being chased by the "Dog Warden" and quickly come to his rescue.

Beautiful watercolors help to tell this heart-warming tale that young listeners are sure to love.
I felt so sad for this dog until he finally found a sweet loving home. I love pet friendly books especially the ones that talk about dogs because I have my own. Love love love the illustrations in this book.
Deena Lernor
Willy a dog who just wanted a home, he wandered in the park until one day. A family of four went for a picnic in the park. As the kids went to play they found a stray dog and named him Willy. They played with him for hours until evening came. When it came time to leave the parents made the children leave the dog behind. As the week went on, everyone in the family thought about the dog. The following week they went back to the park to have another picnic. When they got there the kids went and cal ...more
Paige Green
The Stray Dog, by Marc Simont, is a story about a family who finds a stray dog in the park. The children fell in love with their new friend as they chased him around and taught him tricks. Once it was time to go, the family pack up their belongings but left the puppy behind. As the week went on, the whole family remembered what fun it was the week before when they played with the dog they had found. So, the following weekend the family went back to the park. When the dog came around the corner, ...more
Kelly Borton
This picture book is a Caldecott Honor Book. The illustrations are full of color, motion, and emotion. Many of the pages tell the story without words with full page colorful pictures. They tell the story of a stray dog found by a family of 4 on a picnic at the park. The sequence of their day and week without the dog is developed through the illustrations. By the end of the week, the family returns to the park to find the stray dog they named, Willy. When the dog catcher is chasing the stray, the ...more
Kelli Mcdonald
I love this picture storybook! This is a beautifully written, and exciting story about a lost dog and a family who finds it. This is a good book for children to be able to predict what happens next. I thought it was so exciting that they got to keep the dog and I know the children do too! This book is an exciting story to read aloud to a classroom full of children!
This little dog will steal your heart! This Caldecott Medalist Winner can teach children what to do when stray dogs are wandering in the park. Could also be used to teach 'beginning, middle and end' for advanced readers.
Joe Quigg
This book is about a family who finds a stray dog while on a picnic. They play with the dog and name it Willie, but the father doesn't let them take it home. The next week at their picnic, they saw Willie about to be taken by the Dog Warden. The kids from the family claimed the dog and took him home with them. The theme of this book is compassion. This book would be good to spark discussions in the classroom. You can ask the students why they couldn't bring Willie home, how the kids felt, and ho ...more
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(NS) Laura Jackson
I listened to an audiovisual version of this book. This picture book is about a cute little dog. One Saturday afternoon a family goes to the park to have a picnic. While they are at the park, they find a stray dog. The family spends the day with the dog and decides to call him Willy. When the parents tell the children it is time to go, the children ask if they can take Willy home. The parents explain that they cannot take the dog because Willy probably belongs to another family. The children are ...more
Genre: Fictional picture book
Award: Caldecott Honor Book

This picture book is the story of a stray dog who meets up with a family at the park while they are having a picnic. All day the children play with the dog and they even name him Willy. When it is time to go the children want to take the dog with them, but the parents say no. The family thinks about Willy all week. The next weekend when they are having a picnic they see Willy running from a dog warden. The chidren convince the warden that W
I was surprised by the 2001 copyright, as at first glance it looks more like children's books from the early 1950's. I learned Marc Simont has been illustrating children's books since the 30's, so that may explain the look I'm noticing. I love everything but the use of color. In one image the text says "It was a great day for a picnic." and you see a bridge that leads from a city on the left to a wooded green landscape on the right. Cars and buses are crossing as boats sail underneath. For me, t ...more
Sue Morris
When a little dog appears at a family picnic, the girl and boy [lay with him all afternoon, and they name him Willy. At day's end they say good-bye. But the dog has won their hearts and stays on their minds. The following Saturday the family returns to the picnic grounds to look for Willy, but they are not alone—the dogcatcher is looking for him too.

A stray dog wanders in on a family's picnic. Mom thinks he looks hungry.. The kids feed, name, and play with the dog until it is time to leave. The
Jordon Worley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is another Caldecott winner. It's a cute story of a stray dog who meets a family in the park. The family meets him while they're on a picnic and fall in love with him, and dame him Willy. After they have to leave him, they whole family can't stop thinking about him. So they go the following weekend to the same park for another picnic. They see Willy being chased by animal control. That's when they chase after him and take him home. Willy is now their dog and has found where he belongs, ...more
Holly Smith
This book is based on a true story of a family who found a dog in the park one day, left it there and thought about it all week. When they returned the next weekend they hoped that he would still be there so they could take him home. This book, while cute, would be too simple for an older group of kids. And the front inside sleeve summarizes the whole story before you can even read it. The images seem to have a realistic look to them and some are double paged. While you can tell what the images ...more
Tine Martinsen
“The Stray Dog” is about a family that has a picnic and finds a stray dog they play with. When they get home they keep thinking about the dog, and wonder what happened to him. So the next time they went for a picnic they heard a lot of noise, and they saw the dog-catcher chasing the stray-dog. The girl and the boy in the family found a way to save him, and they brought him home, cleaned him up, and made him a part of their family.

The thing I like most about his book is the connection and the a
"The Stray Dog" is a cute story about a family that goes to a park and come across a stray dog. After playing at the park with the dog, who they named Willy, the children want to take him home. However, their parents think that Willy is someone else's dog. They go home and for the entire week, they think about Willy. The next weekend, at the park, the family comes across Willy again and this time he is being chased by animal control. The children explain to him that Willy belongs to them and the ...more
Megan D. Neal
When a family goes to the country for a picnic, and find a friendly stray dog and play with him all day, the children want to bring him home, but the parents think he might belong to someone. After returning home and thinking about the dog all week, the family returns to the same spot for another picnic, hoping to find the dog again. He comes all right, being chased by an animal control officer. The children immediately lay claim to the dog, and when the officer tells them they need a leash and ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My 3 year old and I were both underwhelmed by this book. It tells the true story of a family who encounters a stray dog on a picnic one day. It's sweet, simple, and the watercolors are certainly beautiful, but nothing about it really captivated either of us. One of the problems may have been the 3 wordless pages that each contain a lot of action. We're a fan of picture books, we're a fan of wordless books, but the wordless pages in this book were jarring because there was a lot happening on them ...more
Hannah Melberg
This book was a bout a family that went to the park one day for a picnic and a scruffy little dog was playing all alone. The two children played with the dog until it was time to go home. Their father didn’t let them take him home with them because he didn’t belong to them. The family thought about Willy all week long. When they returned back to the park they saw Willy being chased by the dog warden. He said he was a stray and he was going to take him away. The children then said he belonged to ...more
A simply written story about a family that goes on a picnic and discovers a stray dog. They feed him and play with him and name him Willy, but when it's time to go they don't take him with them because they believe he must belong to someone else who will miss him too much if they take him. All week the family keeps thinking about Willy, and at the end of the week they go back and picnic in the same spot hoping to see Willy again. Willy does show up but he's in a hurry with the dog catcher right ...more
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