By Terri Schlichenmeyer
Open your ears and close your mouths!
That’s something your teacher says when she wants your class to be still and listen. Look but don’t touch is something Mom says, or “That smells fishy” when she doesn’t believe something.
Hearing, smelling, feeling: those are three of the five senses you might use every day. And in the new book “Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog” by Carol Chiodo Fleischman, illustrated by Stephanie Ford, one woman “sees” with the help of four furry feet.
Nadine the Guide Dog had a lot of special training to do her job, but she could be goofy sometimes, too. She liked to steal socks, for instance, and she liked to pretend that she didn’t know how to slide inside her harness.
But she really did know how, and she was happy to wear her harness when she was working. Guide Dogs have big responsibilities: they help their humans to see.
And for Nadine’s human partner, that was important. Being outside with Nadine was “like dancing,” no matter what the weather. Nadine the Guide Dog could allow her human to explore the neighborhood – and on one particularly chilly winter day, that meant a walk, the smell of chimney smoke, and fresh air.
But the wind grew stronger and the air got colder, and it was soon time for Nadine and her human to get home. There was a storm coming, and “walking became dangerous.” Traffic on the street was dangerous, too, but Nadine’s human remembered that “Trust your dog” was one of the rules for having a Guide Dog. Nadine knew a lot of things, and she knew exactly when it was safe to cross the street!
But did she know how to find their house?
She led her human partner past a squeaky gate. She led her by a garbage can rolling around in the wind. She warned her human that there was ice on the sidewalk and she didn’t get distracted when they heard another dog’s bark. Nadine’s human was glad for that – but where was home?
A dog walking around the mall, at church, or at school can be a big surprise if you’re a little kid. It can also be a big temptation to run up and pet the dog – but “Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog” explains why that’s not a good idea.
But I’m getting ahead of myself: first, author Carol Chiodo Fleischman offers a cute tale of a young woman with a smart but very mischievous new buddy – one that will give her delightful independence. That new freedom is clear, both in story and in Stephanie Ford’s colorful illustrations. It’s in the author’s notes that you and your child will learn more about how a puppy becomes a Seeing Eye® dog.
Meant for 3-to-6-year-olds, I like this book for classrooms – and, if your family’s thinking about raising a future guide dog, you’ll want it, too. “Nadine, My Funny and Trusty Guide Dog” is one your child will want to repeatedly open.
The Bookworm is Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.