Friday, June 1, 2018

CAN I BE YOUR DOG? by Troy Cummings - A dog story told through letters

What a fun dog story! Perfect for learning about letter writing or community helpers!

Summary from the publisher:

This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.  

Can I Be Your Dog? was written and illustrated by Troy Cummings. It was published by Random House in 2018.

Dear People at Yellow House,
I am potty trained, and I have my own squeaky bone.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

If you’re interested in writing a story through letters, this is a great mentor text. There’s lots of humor in this story. I especially liked the different styles of responses to the dog.  The letters show the different personalities and hints of backstory in a just a few words. It made me want to try the challenge of writing a story told through letters or notes!

My Thoughts as an Educator:

This is a fun book to show students examples of letter writing and persuasive writing. It also shows different community helpers or places in the community. It may even lead into discussions about homelessness. The big, colourful illustrations make this book great for reading aloud.

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K – 2

Themes: dogs, letter-writing, community


Pretend you are an animal. Write your own letter to ask for a home.

Draw a map showing different places the dog wanted to live. Tell the story using your map.

What do you think happens after the dog gets to his new home? Draw a picture to show your idea. 


  1. Having adopted a rescue dog about five years ago, I know I'm going to fall in love with this book. Arfy sounds like an endearing dog, and I'm anxious to find out who adopts him. Thank you for sharing this book. I love your activity suggestion to pretend to be an animal that writes a letter, asking for a home. I'm off to try that now. :)

    1. Haha! Yes, sometimes my activity suggestions also work as prompts for writers!

  2. This looks too adorable. I'd adopt Arfy!

  3. Ben meaning to find this one - thanks for the reminder!

    1. #PPBF is such a great way to find new picture books to read -- or to keep us on track of what we already intended to read :)

  4. What a cool book! I'm definitely going to look for this one. It would be perfect, as you mentioned, to use as a mentor text.
    Thanks for highlighting!

  5. I love letters from cats and dogs. What fun, and great activities you've listed.

  6. Awww this is so cute. Love the illustration. Great choice for PPBF.

    1. I know. The cover just makes you want to take this book home!


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