Professional Reviews

A simple, moving origin story of dogs for young readers, told with touching illustrations and a religious theme.

Thompson's debut children's picture book is a tale of how dogs came to exist and why humans love them so much. A blind and deaf boy named Brian knows the world only through touch; when members of his family want to tell him they love him, he can't experience their words and smiles-only their touch. God wants to demonstrate his love to Brian as well, so he comes up with a plan to send the first dog to Earth to show Brian his love. He instructs his creation to pave the way for future dogs by loving Brian: "Stay by his side. Let him lean on you. Help him walk with confidence." In a moving, wordless illustrated montage, Brian meets the canine and they immediately bond. The dog teaches the boy two essential lessons: "to love without expecting anything in return [and] to forgive those who hurt him-then to forget the hurt and love them even more." The book's final lesson is simple: a dog's love is an expression of God's love. The only element out of place in this book is its notion that dogs have long existed in heaven, where they pursue games such as chasing cars and hiding bones-activities that only make sense on Earth. However, readers will likely overlook such non sequiturs, due to the lovely images and sentiments. Bright pastel illustrations grace the pages, including realistically joyous depictions of dogs. The overarching religious theme may narrow the audience, but the story will likely resonate with young readers regardless of their religious affiliations. Dog lovers, in particular, may tear up at the deeper message of a canine's unconditional love.

An engaging picture book about humans' best friends and companions.

Kirkus Reviews

In an act of love, God seeks a companion for a blind and deaf child, Brian.

Using the fictional story of how dogs came to be on Earth, author Tana Thompson weaves a delicate and soothing story that highlights God’s ability to show his love to all, including the blind and deaf. The obvious signs of rainbows, blue skies, and singing birds that many of us take for granted will not be enough for Brian. God calls a meeting in Heaven and selects an unnamed animal to come to Earth to be Brian’s companion and a symbol of God’s love. “Go to Brian and just love him. Stay by his side. Let him lean on you. Help him walk with confidence. Let him hug your neck. … From now on I will call you DOG—that’s God spelled backwards!” Thompson’s tale is well written and the language is smooth. The pictures from Marita Gentry are a seamless complement to the story. With her use of whimsical watercolor illustrations in mostly pastel colors, each page offers a satisfying visual contentment. There are pages where no text is needed at all and the illustrations speak directly to the reader. Diversity comes in many forms and having picture books that showcase compassion toward the blind and deaf are important additions to home and school libraries.

The Children’s Book Review

Why Dogs Are is everything a good children’s book needs to be – engaging and delightful. But when an author tackles a big concept and manages to convey it in a simple, yet powerful way, good becomes great. Great becomes wonderful. Wonderful becomes very special. This is an engaging, delightful and very special book with a story and message that will live forever...

Amy S. Royal, freelance editor

A beautiful message of how God sees, loves and cares for His creations. He uses willing vessels to spread His message in simple and amazing ways. Are you available?

Erminel Love-Trescott, Ed.D
Retired Principal
Helen Keller School of Alabama

An amazing story of how God uses His prevenient grace to touch and change lives. He uses His creation to show His love for all. Everything created points to God through Jesus Christ. I pray all see His amazing Love in this book!

Rev. Ricky Ruston
Pastor
Shiloh United Methodist Church