Murphy's Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care ISBN: 9781433803857
Gilman, Jan Levinson and O'Malley, Kathy
Published by Magination Press, 2009
Lovely, lovely story about a little Tibetan Terrier, Murphy, who is shoved around from place to place until he finally finds a forever home. He is taken to his first placement because his mum is an old dog who can't look after all six of her puppies, but this is not a success because it is a big house with lots of children and pets, and they are cross with him when he has accidents. He doesn't get much food either, and when the postman reports that a sad puppy is living there, he is taken to an animal shelter. There he is looked after well, but is worried about his mum and is confused. Finally someone takes him home, but this is not a success because he is too excitable and frisky, and back he goes. By this time he has decided he is a bad luck dog, and that whatever he does, nothing will change. Then a new couple come for him, and for some time all is well. Even the resident cat seems to like him. But then one evening when his family are having a party and he is shut in the bathroom, he feels 'alone and sad and angry' and decides to tear up things in the wastebasket. 'Why should I follow the rules?' he thinks. 'Why should I care?' The couple are cross when they see what he has done, but interpreting their crossness for rejection, he runs away. The couple, who truly love the little dog, run after him and hug him tightly when they find him, much to his delight - and theirs. He has his 'forever family' and much joy ensues. Murphy reflects so much of what children experience when they must have multiple homes - their feelings of badness, of being unloved, of wanting to rebel and show they don't care. Children will love Murphy, want to cuddle him through the bad times, and will rejoice with him when all comes right. There are several pages at the back of the book giving detailed advice on using the book with children, their possible feelings of guilt, confusion, grief and loss, shame, anger, distrust, and loneliness. The illustrations are outstanding, home-like, cuddly, and highly reassuring even through the sad times. I suspect children will want to read this over and over. I certainly did!
Age: 3+