Author: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: David Walker
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Audience: Ages 4 and up
Summary: The story of a young boy and a stray puppy dog who end up together. The boy asks the puppy about his life before they became family, and the boy also tells the puppy about his dog who had passed away and how they came to adopt the puppy.
Literary elements at work in the story: A picture book set in the boy’s home, but simultaneously set in the puppy’s street life and time in the pet shelter. It is told in the first-person point of view of the boy. The story speaks of abandonment, death, rejection, fear and culminates in adoption and love. Some pieces may be difficult for younger children, but it is a great book for starting critical conversations about pet adoption and care.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability make a difference to the story? The boy is a white boy, as is the puppy depicted. The secondary characters are somewhat diverse in age, gender and race. There is the assumption that the family is of sound economic status, as seen through the pictures and implied in some of the story. The stray animals are depicted as not very healthy.
Scripture: Psalm 147:9-11
Theology: God’s providence is a promise of God’s provision for creation. God has promised to never leave us, even when we feel alone. Through God’s providential care, God provides us with persons who step in and care for us physically and love us unconditionally so that we can always feel the love and presence of God that is promised us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever owned a pet? What kind of pet have you owned?
- How does the puppy end up being cared for in the story?
- What are ways that you can care for a pet? What about a friend or sibling?
- How does God care for us?
Review prepared by Katie Todd, Union-PSCE in Charlotte
Before You Were Mine by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.