Snook Alone by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering (Candlewick Press)
Here’s the story of a man happy with his life of prayer and work, often tending the garden or fixing the plumbing, and a little rat terrier who likes his work of shadowing the monk and chasing down rodents. The language throughout is lyrical, but we stay with the dog’s point of view, and Snook’s not going far from the pleasurably smelly world. There’s danger, including a shark cameo, and action that skirts philosophy: it’s not a book for the very young and restless, but somewhat older readers, though the expressive pictures of dog joy will captivate most. We get a happy ending and subtle messages about different kinds of silence, faith, and waiting. Illustrator Timothy Basil Ering’s colors are stunning, and his pencil exquisitely captures the struggles, pleasures, moods, and energy of dog, wind, and sea.