Reviews for Charley's First Night

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
*Starred Review* This one's a heart melter. The blond tyke of a narrator, Henry Korn, finds a puppy in the snow. He just knows that the small wheat-colored dog is named Charley and that Charley wants the boy to carry him home. So he does. His parents are resigned to letting Charley stay as long as Henry is in charge of walking him ("I couldn't wait to walk Charley every day forever") and feeding him (ditto), but the one caveat is that Charley must sleep in the kitchen. Really? Henry and Charley both make a game effort that first night. Henry sets his puppy up with a teddy bear and a clock to keep him company. When Charley wakes up, Henry rushes to the kitchen, scoops him up, and shows him around the house. And the scenario repeats later in the night. Finally, both boy and dog are tuckered out. Sleep comes, but on Henry's bed--and a sweeter picture would be hard to imagine. Hest's text has a real-world feel, especially in the scenes where Henry and Charley take a tour of the house. Oxenbury's cozy depictions are occasionally staid, but impish Charley is so lovable, it's hard not to go "aww" every time he appears in a spread. With a design as soft and lovely as its message, this book will make it tough to keep children from heading out in the snow to look for their own Charley. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Young Henry agrees to his new puppy Charley sleeping in the kitchen "forever." His parents are "pretty clear" about this, though Henry and Charley disagree and--not surprisingly--are both in Henry's bed by night's end. Henry's forthright account is extended by subtle details in Oxenbury's art. An unsentimental, yet adorable, recasting of an ever-reliable theme.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #1
As young Henry Korn tells it, adopting a puppy is a simple process: he names the dog Charley, carries him home, shows him around, agrees to feed and walk him, and also agrees to Charley sleeping in the kitchen "forever." His parents are "pretty clear" about this, though Henry and Charley disagree and -- not surprisingly -- are both in Henry's bed by night's end. Henry's forthright account is extended by subtle details in Oxenbury's art. Henry cradles the pup he's found like a baby on the snowy walk home; Charley's unmentioned piddles explain Henry's parents' firmness; the little boy's nightlong comforting of his lonely, affectionate new friend is a model of loving parental behavior; and Mrs. Korn's discovery of the two together in the morning -- she's neither vexed nor much surprised -- appears only dimly in a mirror -- the important thing is the happily sleeping pair. An unsentimental, yet adorable, recasting of an ever-reliable theme. joanna rudge long

Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
The tenderness a child feels for his new puppy seeps from the pages of a book sure to be instantly beloved. "I carried him in my old baby blanket, which was soft and midnight blue, and we were new together and I was very, very careful not to slip in the snow and I thought about his name." Charley Korn is the puppy; the young narrator is Henry Korn. Hest's stream-of-consciousness sentences are interspersed with short, declarative statements and bits of dialogue, creating a dreamy, lyrical cadence. Oxenbury's pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are infused with softness and warmth, depicting the loving bond between boy and dog. Even the design of the book, with text and pictures set within wide borders on each page, inspires a feeling of intimacy. Once home, Henry shows Charley around ("This is home, Charley") and recounts his parents' expectations, including the one where Charley will sleep in the kitchen--alone--forever. Henry dutifully arranges Charley's bed, but the nighttime crying begins. After the second rescue, Henry shows Charley his room, where Charley wants to be put on Henry's bed--or so Henry interprets. Thus the two spend the night, predictably the first of many, cuddled together. Be forewarned: Youngsters will find Charley as irresistible as Henry does and will no doubt beg for puppies of their own. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #3

Skittish, curious, loving, and vividly adorable, Henry's new puppy, Charley, epitomizes the idea that while being a fledging pet owner isn't always easy, it's entirely worthwhile. Charley is a bit overwhelmed by his new surroundings, but Henry patiently shows him around the house, makes him a cozy bed, and responds to nighttime howling in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Henry's parents want to make sure the boundaries of behavior--for both pet and owner--are crystal clear from the get-go ("I would be in charge of feeding Charley, they said, and I couldn't wait to feed Charley every day forever"). Henry sees the job through thanks to his unconditional love for his canine charge, a budding sense of duty, and a little bending of the rules. With a voice that's sweetly comic and deeply sympathetic, Hest (Letters to Leo) beautifully imagines a serious, careful little boy who's juggling the needs of multiple parties. Oxenbury (King Jack and the Dragon), wonderful as always in chronicling the small dramas of domestic life, will have readers falling in love with this duo from the very first page. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

K-Gr 2--This comforting, sweet story of a puppy's first night in his new home is simply told and as warm and cozy as a blanket. When Henry Korn finds Charley one snowy evening, the little boy just knows that the pup wants to go home with him. His parents capitulate to their son's desire to keep the dog, making sure he knows that the puppy is his responsibility. Although Charley wants to sleep in Henry's room (says Henry), Mr. Korn gently affirms that the animal will spend the night in the kitchen. Henry is tender and loving toward his new charge, and children who have looked after their family pets will see a bit of themselves in the protagonist. During the night the puppy cries, and his young master dutifully looks after him, stopping at his parents' bedroom only to find them sound asleep. Of course, Charley ends up in Henry's bed, but who could look at such a compatible pair and be angry? The pencil and watercolor illustrations are set within soft, muted frames. From Charley's adorable face and poses to Henry's mother's reflection in a mirror as she looks at the pair asleep, the pictures have a timeless quality and beautifully complement the story.--Alison Donnelly, Collinsville Memorial Public Library, IL

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