Sometimes it’s hard to find your place in the world. We seek out and create spaces that make us feel safe, comfortable and warm, but it can be difficult to adapt to changes in our environment.
Such is the case for French bulldog Toby in As Warm as the Sun (Neal Porter Books) by Kate and Jim McMullan. Toby lives for basking in the warmth of his favorite places – his spot in his owner’s lap, his spot by the fireplace, his spot in the morning sun. He dreams of discovering a sense of warmth that never dissipates or goes away.
But all that changes with the arrival of newcomer Pinkie, another French bulldog with a penchant for warmth. Suddenly Pinkie is the one hogging all of Toby’s favorite spots. Even when Toby barks up a storm, Pinkie won’t budge. Before, Toby was top dog; now, he’s not so sure where he stands. Upset and discouraged, Toby slinks off to the basement and curls up all alone in a cold corner.
Lo and behold, Pinkie abandons the warm places and follows Toby, cuddling up next to him in the basement. Together, they create their own pool of warmth, as warm as the sun. This small act of kindness finally convinces Toby that long-lasting warmth comes not from a specific location but from opening yourself up to love.
Young readers will love following along as Toby and Pinkie sniff each other and learn to coexist happily. Parents will appreciate the opportunity to discuss meaningful lessons such as the importance of inclusivity and the value of finding common ground with others. With an emphasis on friendship and openness, this story teaches young readers that change is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, we can find exactly what we want where we least expect it.
The illustrations of Jim McMullan are lush and expressive, bringing these pups to life in soft splashes of color. Visually pleasing, this picture book evokes feelings of warmth, softness, and playfulness reminiscent of playing with a real dog. Even the fiercest of cat lovers will find themselves falling in love with Toby and Pinkie.
The tale of these two pups demonstrates that sometimes the unlikeliest of friendships can become some of the most heartwarming. This book is a crucial tool for parents bringing home a new sibling or for any elementary teacher encouraging new friendships. Any child struggling to form new bonds will benefit from the lessons of Pinkie reaching out to Toby and Toby learning to be receptive to love.
As Warm as the Sun is available for purchase on August 13, 2019.
About the Authors:
Kate McMullan is the author of many books for young readers, including I Stink!, winner of a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor; I’m Mighty; and Meg’s Prairie Diary, a historical fiction trilogy set in St. Louis and Kansas in 1856. She has been fascinated by the Lewis and Clark Expedition since the age of ten, when an uncle told her about an ancestor who had gone on the expedition. That ancestor was sixteen-year-old George Shannon. Ms. McMullan lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York, with her husband and collaborator, noted illustrator Jim McMullan, their daughter, two cats, and a dog.
James McMullan has created images for magazine stories, books for adults and children, record covers, US stamps, murals, and animated films. He is most well-known for the over eighty posters he has done for Lincoln Center Theater.