Perfect Picture Book Friday laughs with Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

A few years ago, the dinner I was preparing was put on hold when my daughter said, “Mommy, you’ve had that bag of clothing donations sitting in the hall for a week. Why don’t we drive over to the thrift store and donate it before Daddy gets home from work? It’ll only take ten minutes.”

(Nothing takes ten minutes, and what was about to happen next, took hours.)

As a note, the thrift store my daughter was referring to is more than a thrift store. The money the store generates from clothing and household items supports the animal rescue shelter at the back of their building. (Can you see where I’m going with this story?…)

When we pulled into the back parking lot, we were greeted by twenty or more dogs and the staff. My daughter asked someone why the dogs were outside and was told the thrift store needed to sell the dogs that evening because it was the dogs’ last day… My daughter, being six at the time, didn’t understand what that meant and despite my gentle explanation, she cried. It was then that Max entered our lives, or rather my daughter’s quick clutches. “He’s so cute, Mommy! Don’t you think he’s cute? Doesn’t it bother you that tomorrow he’ll be gone?  These people are going to kill him! We HAVE to save him! We have to save them all!” At this point, she was sobbing. I took Max (a seriously adorable rat terrier) into my arms before his coat got too soaked by tears. He quickly flipped on his back and snuggled into me like a baby, eager for love.

“How much is the adoption fee for this dog?” I asked.

“$250.00,” the owner said.

“Pleased, Mommy? You like Max. I can tell. And you’re always saying how growing up with a pet is a good thing. I’ll even give you my allowance to help pay for Max. Pleeeeeeease!”

“He’s $250.00, sweetie,” I said.

“We can eat beans and rice for a month to save money,” my daughter said, “and I won’t complain. Oh, Pleeeeeeease, Mommy, let’s save Max’s life!” 

Yes, Max came home with us and has been the most amazing addition to our family. He curls behind me on my chair when I’m writing, curls over my legs when I’m reading on the sofa, flops over me when I’m sleeping, and gives a million pounds of unconditional love daily. We often wonder what Max is thinking and have invented humorous conversations for his many situations which is why I like my PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY selection for this week, Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

Title – Help Me, Mr. Mutt! – view on Amazon HERE.

Written and illustrated by – Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

Published by – Harcourt Inc. 2008

Suitable for ages – 4-8 with loads of adult-appreciating humor.

Topics/Theme –  pet dilemmas

Opening – Dear Mr. Mutt, Do I look fat? My people put me on a diet! They’re starving me! I’m so hungry my stomach growls louder than I growl. I’m wasting away. Soon there will be nothing left of me. I’m so weak, I don’t think I can finish writing this letter…. – Famished in Florida

P.S. My people give the fat cat fancy food from a tiny can. All I get is tasteless gravel from a giant sack. Is that fair?

Amazon Review – Responding to disgruntled dogs nationwide, Mr. Mutt, Canine Counselor, has solutions to the most sticky dilemmas. But Mr. Mutt has his own problem to solve: the cat (aka The Queen), who has her own idea of who’s in charge. Now Mr. Mutt is the one who needs help–quick!

Through letters and newspaper clippings–and with plenty of their trademark humor–Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel give voice to despairing dogs everywhere.
Why do I like this book? 
It’s funny to imagine that the dogs (and cat) in this story actually feel the way they do. While reading the letters, I felt sorry for my own dog. Gads! I thought. I just switched dog food brands and chose a low-fat variety for aging (fat) dogs. What must my poor, little darling be thinking? Well… after reading this book, I knew! Immediately, I offered a few, tasty treats and a belly rub. Letter after letter in this marvelously illustrated book had me laughing. Anyone who has a dog will enjoy the advice the dogs in this book receive in response to their letters of complaint.

Learn about Janet Stevens HERE.

Learn about Susan Stevens Crummel HERE.

Find more picture book reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

Activities with children – Play act with your children. Have them pretend to be thier dog or cat and see what they think their pet would say if he could communicate like us.

15 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday laughs with Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

    • Hi, Keila,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and joining in the comments! I am so glad my daughter insisted we bring our donation bag to that place that day. The very thought that if we hadn’t gone, hadn’t seen Max, he might not be here today. Max has sooo much love to give, and 24 hours isn’t enough time for him to give it all in one day. Like they say “My rescue pet rescued me.” It’s true.


  1. How lucky for you! I would have enjoyed that event quite a lot as I recently decided to dust off my art degree from the University of Denver and put my artistic hand to work, illustrating one of my PB manuscripts. What a great decision! I forgot how much I enjoy pen and ink and watercolors. The illustrations in Help Me, Mr. Mutt! show so much emotion and are packed with delicious details.


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