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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Billy was a very lonely person. He really didn’t have any friends. One day, after seeing a lively, happy dog, Billy made up his mind to not only pet the happy dog, but to pet every dog in the world. He believed that petting the dog would make him happy. It did. He set about to follow his wish and petted all kinds of dogs, until one day he came across a very sad dog, one who didn’t want to be petted. Billy was sad. He could see that this dog had been mistreated. He left him a treat, just as he had the other dogs and returned home. He was both happy and sad and he suddenly realized that it wasn’t just happiness he sought; it was love. And that’s when the dog who refused him showed up on his doorstep.
Anyone who has loved and cared for a dog knows what it means to be truly happy. The phrase ‘a dog is man’s best friend’ really does have true meaning. Bradley Holley’s charming picture book story, The Man Who Wanted to Pet Every Dog in the World, addresses the power of a dog’s love – it’s unconditional and it does make one happy. Billy wants to have a friend, one who will always be there for him, one who will always make him happy. What he doesn’t realize is that dogs usually want the same thing. Most of the dogs Billy meets are already happy and contented because they are loved and cared for. The last dog he tries to pet sadly needs someone to love and care for him. And that’s Billy. This is a powerful story, told in rhyming verse that speaks to the heart. Dogs need loving, caring homes, just as much as people do. The beautiful illustrations, simple and colorful, help move the story along. This is a story that will both bring a smile to the reader’s face and a tear to his/her eyes.