If You Give a Dog a Donut

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
If You Give a Dog a Donut Book Poster Image
Latest in fun series features adorable if demanding pooch.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows cause and effect in a simple, fun way. 

Positive Messages

You can accommodate someone else's needs when you're playing together, but be aware that his or her requests may never end. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The little boy is helpful, kind, and generous with his time and effort.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is this ninth book in the series that started with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985). Each book follows the same appealing format, and thanks to adorable art and characters, it somehow doesn't get old. 

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What's the story?

One thing leads to another in this latest in the If You Give a ... series. "If you give a dog a donut, he'll ask for some apple juice to go with it. ... He'll go outside to pick apples. When he's up in the tree, he'll toss you one. Throwing it will make him think of baseball. He'll want to play." And so it goes till they circle back to the house for another donut on the last page. The patient, accommodating little boy works double-time to keep up with his four-legged pal, flitting from one activity to the next, sometimes leaving a mess behind. Sound familiar? It will to some parents who face the same dynamic with their active little ones.

Is it any good?

Fans of the series have their own favorites among the seven books, but IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT stands up to the others by comparison. It's hard to resist the unabashed exuberance of the dog -- when he does a "happy dance" to celebrate hitting a home run or wraps a bandana over one eye to impersonate a pirate. Felicia Bond's illustrations are uncluttered and utterly winning. And author Laura Numeroff captures the fun-seeking spirit of kids in her canine character.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to play with someone who is always changing his mind about what he wants to do. Is it fun or frustrating to play with someone who has a big imagination and lots of energy? 

  • The little boy gets the dog everything he asks for. Is it kind of like what happens with a real dog -- like when he barks to go out and begs for you to throw the ball or rolls over to get his tummy rubbed? 

  • This is the seventh book in a series that shows different boys and girls getting stuff for different animals, from a mouse to a moose. Do you think the series is still fun? Do you look forward to the next one? Do you remember this dog from If You Give a Pig a Party?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books for preschoolers

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