The Dog Child

By: Simon Black
Illustrator: Honorio Robledo
“A cheerful valentine to family life and man’s best friend.”—The New York Times “Children will love this quirky story about a dog named Judy whose owners treat her like a human child…”—National Education Association
Categories: All Books | Children | Fiction



Mr. and Mrs. McVitie love their dog Judy so much that they treat her like their own child. They let her sleep between them in their bed, they sew little outfits for her, they take her photo at every opportunity. One day, they dress her up and send her to kindergarten. The kids at school love Judy, she plays in all the games! The McVities even have a birthday party for Judy and invite all the kids and their parents. These parents find themselves wondering, "Are the McVities out of their minds? Do they think this dog is a kid?" At the party, they soon find out exactly what the McVities do think, and it's even worse than they had imagined: the McVities want Judy to blow out the candles! Judy saves the day with a birthday wish that changes their lives forever.

"A doggone wonderful tail, er, TALE, of belonging and acceptance." Billy Frolick, screenwriter/scriptwriter, Madagascar

"Sophisticated and funny, with a sweet surprise ending." Kate Boutilier, Screenwriter, Rugrats Go Wild

Do you have a dog child? We want to hear all about them!! Visit our DOG BLOG at and see other dog children. Send us a picture and some classic characteristics of your Dog Child and we'll post it on the blog!

7 reviews for The Dog Child

  1. The New York Times
    “A story that can be read as fable or lampoon of the doting dog owner. “Mr. and Mrs. McVitie loved their dog soooo much. Her name was Judy, and she slept in the bed between them.” The serenely smiling Judy wears clothes, attends kindergarten and plays T-ball — though all she really wants is a child to play with. (That may be mostly what the McVities want, too.) Finally everyone gets what they want, and Judy still does “a bunch of stuff dogs aren’t supposed to do.” A cheerful valentine to family life and man’s best friend.”

  2. National Education Association
    “Children will love this quirky story about a dog named Judy whose owners treat her like a human child—dressing her in clothes, enrolling her in kindergarten, and even throwing her a birthday party complete with cake and candles. The kids love it but the mayor is a skeptic. What does Judy think about all this? How does she deal with the ultimate birthday challenge of blowing out the candles? And what is her birthday wish?”

  3. The Midwest Book Review⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    “Written by Simon Black and illustrated by Honorio Robledo, The Dog Child is a very special picturebook that will prove to be of particular interest to young readers with canine companions of their own. Judy is a dog whose family dresses her up in clothes, takes her to school, even gives her a birthday party. When Judy blows out the candles on her birthday cake she makes just one wish—that the McVittie family will soon have a human baby so that Judy can go back to being the family dog and enjoying the usual doggie benefits. This highly entertaining picturebook story for young readers is a welcome addition to the library picturebook shelves.”

  4. School Library Journal
    “During the five years that the McVities have owned Judy, they’ve lost sight of the fact that she is a canine. They feed her human food, dress her in clothes, and send her to kindergarten. This leads to difficulties-the pup wants to please her “parents,” but she feels best when she is being treated like a dog by others in the community. At her sixth birthday party, adults try to tell the couple the truth about their “child,” whose secret wish for them is fulfilled nine months later. The cartoonish illustrations have lots of vibrant color. Judy’s feelings show on her face-her big, contented grin is one of the best parts of the book.”

  5. El Paso Scene
    “El Paso publishers Cinco Puntos’ latest offering for children focuses on the all-too-true eccentricities of over-adoring dog owners. Judy, the McVities’ pet, is so much a part of their family that she becomes their ‘daughter,’ complete with bed privileges, pajamas, a trip to school, a birthday party, and even hopes for a little brother or sister. Intended simply for fun, this witty story has simple, colorful and endearing illustrations. For those who don’t own dogs, it might not be more than just a cute story for children, but for us poor fools who have opened up our hearts, homes, dinner tables and even the foot of the bed to our canine companions, there are some laugh-out-loud moments.”

  6. Tucson Citizen

    In Simon Black’s first book for children, he spins the story of the McVitties, a family that seriously believes their dog, Judy, is a real child. They dress Judy in clothes, give her a birthday party and encourage her to make a wish. She does, and it comes true. The illustrations by Robledo are colorful and enchanting.”

  7. El Paso Inside & Out
    “A lovely story about a pampered pooch and her slightly bizarre parents, The Dog Child speaks to the heart of any animal lover and will delight any little one with a penchant for puppies. The story begins with a married couple named Mr. And Mrs. McVitie, who are completely enamored with their dog, Judy. She sleeps in the bed right between them, eats people food and is never without a beautiful little outfit. Eventually, Judy becomes more than just a pet; Judy becomes their daughter. So, as any decent parent would do with a little girl approaching 6 years of age, Mr. And Mrs. McVitie enroll her in school—not doggy school, elementary school.

    With whimsical illustrations and an eccentric story line, The Dog Child is a quirky and fun tale about just how much a dog can mean to a family, even as the family grows. Before you put this little gem down, make sure to check out the photo of the real Judy, decked out like the celebrity she now is, at the very back of the book!”

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