Can I Be Your Dog?

Look inside
Paperback
$8.99 US
On sale Feb 08, 2022 | 40 Pages | 978-0-593-38006-2
A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters from a dog as he seeks a forever home! The New York Times bestselling picture book that was featured on THE TODAY SHOW is now in paperback!

Arfy is a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.

Troy Cummings's hilarious and touching story is a perfect gift for a child wanting a dog, and for pet adoption advocates. It also showcases many different styles of letter writing, making it appealing to parents and teachers looking to teach the lost art of written communication.

"It's an instant classic in our household." --#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas
  • WINNER | 2021
    New York State Charlotte Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    South Carolina Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Colorado Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Utah Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Nevada Young Readers Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Indiana Young Hoosier Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Florida Sunshine State Book Award
  • WINNER | 2019
    The Maine Children’s Choice Picture Book Award
  • WINNER | 2019
    Oklahoma Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Illinois State Library Monarch Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Arizona Young Reader's Award
  • NOMINEE | 2020
    Pennyslvania Young Readers Choice Master List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Virginia Young Readers Program Award
  • SELECTION | 2019
    Kansas State Reading Circle Award
  • SELECTION | 2019
    Texas 2x2 Reading List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Pennsylvania Keystone State Reading Association Book Master List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    California Young Reader Medal
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Minnesota Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Nebraska Golden Sower Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Oklahoma Book Award
  • SELECTION | 2018
    Indie Next
  • SELECTION | 2018
    Amazon Best of the Month
© Jen Krick Bischoff

Everywhere I go -- from the lowliest, grubbiest pawn shop in town to the swankiest, fanciest pawn shop in town -- people always ask the same questions: "Where are you from? Were you a nerdy kid? How did you wind up becoming a writer-slash-illustrator?”
 
I sort of shrug and try to change the subject, but for some reason they won't let it go.
 
"No, really,” they say. “We sincerely and frequently want to know!”  At this point, I reach into my backpack and hand them a little pamphlet. This is what it says:
 
Regularly Posed Inquiries (RPIs)
 
1. Where are you from?
I grew up in the middle of the woods near Cunot, Indiana. I had dogs, ducks, chickens, sisters and a baby brother. (Hi, Nate!) We played in the woods all the time, which is pretty great when you think about it.
 
2. Were you a nerdy kid?
No way.  Everyone in school gave me the respect that a level 12 Paladin (with +4  Boots of Dexterity) deserves.
 
3. How did you wind up becoming a writer-slash-illustrator?
In grade school, I spent most of my leisure time drawing comics. Around fifth grade or so, I created my masterpiece: a comic called “Star Quack.”  It was an epic story about a duck and robot who tried to explore the universe but always wound up getting attacked by intergalactic space monsters. (Write what you know.)
 
I went on to draw cartoons for my high school and college newspapers. (I recommend becoming a staff artist for a school paper – they have lots of space to fill and will accept anything you submit. Even if it’s a weekly comic strip titled “Death By Bear Attack.”)
 
Then, like a lot of people in their early 20s, I started to experiment with graphic design. At first it was just once or twice a month – a logo here, a T-shirt there.  But pretty soon I was designing newspaper pages, laying out posters, and editing photos almost every day.  I even learned what “kerning” was.
 
This led to internships and jobs at a bunch of newspapers and Web sites, which in turn led to my becoming a full-time illustrator.  Slash-writer.
 
 
4. Do you think that really what it all boils down to is that you just have to keep at it?  In other words, once you stop writing, then it’s really hard to start again? And that the same goes for drawing?  Or even playing the saxophone?  Oh, and also that the more you create, the easier it is to create the next thing, be it writing a story or drawing a picture or sculpting a national park out of mashed potatoes or anything, really?

Yes.
 
 
5. Finally, do you have four helpful tips for people who want to become writers-slash-illustrators?
 
Of course! Here you go.
 
1) Take all your notes on legal paper.  The size of the paper doesn’t matter, just as long as you’ve obtained it without breaking the law.
 
2) Do all your sketches with a fancy pen. This will impress everyone in the coffee shop, even if your artwork is just so-so. I prefer the Finial-Weatherford broad point fountain pen, with a no. 3 ox-tooth nib, enamel-plated quills, and two eyes made out of coal.
 
3) Make sure your computer is up to date.  (Rule of thumb: a good writing computer should weigh at least seven pounds.  Twice that if you’re planning to write a teenage vampire romance.)
 
4) Stuck on the ending? Try adverbs! Adverbs are a great way to end any story. Seriously.

View titles by Troy Cummings
Classroom Activities for Can I Be Your Dog?

Classroom activities supplement discussion and traditional lessons with group projects and creative tasks. Can be used in pre-existing units and lessons, or as stand-alone.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

About

A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters from a dog as he seeks a forever home! The New York Times bestselling picture book that was featured on THE TODAY SHOW is now in paperback!

Arfy is a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.

Troy Cummings's hilarious and touching story is a perfect gift for a child wanting a dog, and for pet adoption advocates. It also showcases many different styles of letter writing, making it appealing to parents and teachers looking to teach the lost art of written communication.

"It's an instant classic in our household." --#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas

Awards

  • WINNER | 2021
    New York State Charlotte Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    South Carolina Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Colorado Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Utah Children's Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Nevada Young Readers Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Indiana Young Hoosier Award
  • WINNER | 2020
    Florida Sunshine State Book Award
  • WINNER | 2019
    The Maine Children’s Choice Picture Book Award
  • WINNER | 2019
    Oklahoma Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Illinois State Library Monarch Award
  • NOMINEE | 2021
    Arizona Young Reader's Award
  • NOMINEE | 2020
    Pennyslvania Young Readers Choice Master List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Virginia Young Readers Program Award
  • SELECTION | 2019
    Kansas State Reading Circle Award
  • SELECTION | 2019
    Texas 2x2 Reading List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Pennsylvania Keystone State Reading Association Book Master List
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    California Young Reader Medal
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Minnesota Book Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Nebraska Golden Sower Award
  • NOMINEE | 2019
    Oklahoma Book Award
  • SELECTION | 2018
    Indie Next
  • SELECTION | 2018
    Amazon Best of the Month

Author

© Jen Krick Bischoff

Everywhere I go -- from the lowliest, grubbiest pawn shop in town to the swankiest, fanciest pawn shop in town -- people always ask the same questions: "Where are you from? Were you a nerdy kid? How did you wind up becoming a writer-slash-illustrator?”
 
I sort of shrug and try to change the subject, but for some reason they won't let it go.
 
"No, really,” they say. “We sincerely and frequently want to know!”  At this point, I reach into my backpack and hand them a little pamphlet. This is what it says:
 
Regularly Posed Inquiries (RPIs)
 
1. Where are you from?
I grew up in the middle of the woods near Cunot, Indiana. I had dogs, ducks, chickens, sisters and a baby brother. (Hi, Nate!) We played in the woods all the time, which is pretty great when you think about it.
 
2. Were you a nerdy kid?
No way.  Everyone in school gave me the respect that a level 12 Paladin (with +4  Boots of Dexterity) deserves.
 
3. How did you wind up becoming a writer-slash-illustrator?
In grade school, I spent most of my leisure time drawing comics. Around fifth grade or so, I created my masterpiece: a comic called “Star Quack.”  It was an epic story about a duck and robot who tried to explore the universe but always wound up getting attacked by intergalactic space monsters. (Write what you know.)
 
I went on to draw cartoons for my high school and college newspapers. (I recommend becoming a staff artist for a school paper – they have lots of space to fill and will accept anything you submit. Even if it’s a weekly comic strip titled “Death By Bear Attack.”)
 
Then, like a lot of people in their early 20s, I started to experiment with graphic design. At first it was just once or twice a month – a logo here, a T-shirt there.  But pretty soon I was designing newspaper pages, laying out posters, and editing photos almost every day.  I even learned what “kerning” was.
 
This led to internships and jobs at a bunch of newspapers and Web sites, which in turn led to my becoming a full-time illustrator.  Slash-writer.
 
 
4. Do you think that really what it all boils down to is that you just have to keep at it?  In other words, once you stop writing, then it’s really hard to start again? And that the same goes for drawing?  Or even playing the saxophone?  Oh, and also that the more you create, the easier it is to create the next thing, be it writing a story or drawing a picture or sculpting a national park out of mashed potatoes or anything, really?

Yes.
 
 
5. Finally, do you have four helpful tips for people who want to become writers-slash-illustrators?
 
Of course! Here you go.
 
1) Take all your notes on legal paper.  The size of the paper doesn’t matter, just as long as you’ve obtained it without breaking the law.
 
2) Do all your sketches with a fancy pen. This will impress everyone in the coffee shop, even if your artwork is just so-so. I prefer the Finial-Weatherford broad point fountain pen, with a no. 3 ox-tooth nib, enamel-plated quills, and two eyes made out of coal.
 
3) Make sure your computer is up to date.  (Rule of thumb: a good writing computer should weigh at least seven pounds.  Twice that if you’re planning to write a teenage vampire romance.)
 
4) Stuck on the ending? Try adverbs! Adverbs are a great way to end any story. Seriously.

View titles by Troy Cummings

Guides

Classroom Activities for Can I Be Your Dog?

Classroom activities supplement discussion and traditional lessons with group projects and creative tasks. Can be used in pre-existing units and lessons, or as stand-alone.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Books for Black History Month

Join Penguin Random House Education in celebrating the contributions of Black authors, creators, and educators. In honor of Black History Month in February, we are highlighting stories about the history of Black America, the experiences of Black women, celebrations of Black music, and essential books by Black writers. Find more books from Penguin Random House:

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