Book Review: “The Blue House Dog” Written By Deborah Blumenthal, Illustrated By Adam Gustavson

The Blue House Dog is a story about “A boy without a dog-and a dog without an owner”.

“Some people call him Bones

because he’s so thin.

But nobody knows his real name.”

“He’s just a stray dog,

people say,

and not a special one…”

“Only his eyes are special.

One is brown

and the other

sapphire blue.”

The above is a description of “Bones” (as he is called by Cody, the little boy who tells us the story of The Blue House Dog).  From the day that Cody first noticed Bones,  he  spends his days watching  him, giving him food, worrying about his welfare.

You see, Bones once had a home. He lived with a man in a big blue house. One day the man suddenly died.  Bones, after being frightened by the police who come to the home, escapes and is left to wander the neighborhood.

He spends much of his time searching for food and trying to elude the evil dog-catcher.

To make matters worse, the big blue house that Bones used to live in was torn down.

It was the only home that Bones had ever known.

Bones is heartbroken  and lonely.

So is Cody. You see, Cody once had a dog of his own  named Teddy, that he loved very much.  Teddy used to curl up in bed with Cody every night. Cody used to tell him secrets because he  considered Teddy to be his “best friend in the world.”

One day Teddy became sick and died.  Cody doesn’t know why.  All he knows is that he is still hurting. He still Teddy’s  picture in his room.  He has kept Teddy’s bright fire-engine red dog bowl wrapped in a brown paper bag, stashed deep in the closet of his bedroom,  because he cannot bear to look at it.

“When you lose someone

who’s as close as your own skin,

the only place

you can find him again

is hidden

inside your memories.”

Throughout this tug-at-your-heartstrings story,  Cody and Bones cautiously grow closer, both are afraid of being hurt again.  They both must relearn how to love and trust.

“Bones is just a stray dog,

people say,

and not a special one.

But he is to me.

Dogs find their way

inside you

and you want to keep them there.”


Will Bones and Cody ever learn to trust and love each other?

I’m not telling.

You will have to read this touching story to find out.


“Readers will be deeply affected by Deborah Blumenthal’s story of love and loss. Adam Gustavson’s full-color illustrations reveal the shadows and light, as well as the quiet drama, of neighborhood life, and highlight the emerging relationship between the narrator and the lonely, dispirited dog that captures his attention, and finally, his heart.”

  • Hardcover: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-537-9
  • Total Pages: 32




Deborah Blumenthal has written nine children’s books, including two Book Sense 76 winners. She has also been a regular contributor to the New York Times, covering beauty and fitness. Blumenthal lives in New York.

You can visit Deborah Blumenthal’s website here.



Adam Gustavson has illustrated sixteen books for children, including Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! and Snow Day!.He lives in New Jersey.

You can visit Adam Gustavson’s website here



IN FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated for this blog post. I was sent a copy of The Blue House Dog to  review.