It isn’t easy dealing with neighbors. Whether you’ve had to file noise complaints or had arguments about property lines, the people next door aren’t always as neighborly as we’d like. In Emily Edwards’ book Timmy Gets Adopted, the inhabitants of Potter County have to deal with a very unusual neighborhood dispute. It seems that on this street, it’s not the humans who are having troubles with their neighbors — it’s the animals.
The newest resident is Timmy, a happy-go-lucky puppy from the Shelter for Rescued Animals. Timmy’s just been adopted by the Martin family and is getting acclimated to his new life as a family pet. And, like any other puppy, Timmy barks. A lot.
The other animals around the area are sick of the noise, and long for the days when Timmy was still at the shelter. Melody the rabbit is worried that Timmy will sniff out her baby bunnies, who live in the nest underneath the Martin’s porch. Sophia the owl is worried Timmy’s barking will wake her little owlings. But it’s George the tortoise who has the most complaints about the new resident.
He’s lived in the Martin’s yard for nearly a century, but now he has to share that space with a yappy, hyperactive puppy. Timmy doesn’t know how to be gentle with the old tortoise and knocks George onto his shell when he’s just trying to play. But when George snaps at him, Timmy doesn’t understand he’s being too rough, and thinks George is just being mean. The two will have to come to an agreement if they’re going to share the Martin’s lawn.
A PUPPY’S POINT OF VIEW
Throughout the story, Edwards does an excellent job of capturing Timmy’s exuberant personality. The reader can feel his excitement when he encounters a new smell, or when he plays with his favorite chew toy. We experience the story through a puppy’s eyes as Timmy discovers more and more about life outside the shelter. While he’s unfamiliar with life as a house pet, Timmy is quick to jump into this new experience with enthusiasm.
Timmy’s excitement, however, is what gets him into trouble throughout the book. Along with ruffling the feathers (and fur) of animals throughout town, Timmy is still adjusting to his new life with the Martins. While Mrs. Martin and her daughter Katee are thrilled to have a dog, Mr. Martin isn’t so sure. He’s never owned a dog before, and doesn’t know what to make of Timmy’s constant flood of energy. Timmy, likewise, has never met a man before and is frightened of Mr. Martin when they first meet. But with time, the two are able to get along, and end up forming a close-knit bond.
It’s this development that helps Timmy understand things from the other animals’ perspectives. Eventually, he and George are able to come to an understanding. Timmy will be gentle with the tortoise, and George will be kinder to him. This agreement fosters a new friendship between the two and restores peace throughout the Martin’s lawn.
This message is an integral lesson for young children — that we need to consider how our actions affect others, and how that can help us gain a better understanding of each other. Timmy Gets Adopted reminds us that unlikely friendships can form when we see things from the other person’s — or turtle’s — point of view.