Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

First dog Fala

First dog Fala

Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrator:  Michael Montgomery 
Picture Book
Peachtree Publishers, 2008   ISBN: 1561454117

Many of us have the good fortune to share our lives with pets. Our cats and dogs give us reasons to laugh, unconditional love, and companionship. Even people who are rich, powerful, or famous find that a pet adds an extra dimension to their lives. Franklin Delano Roosevelt worked hard to become the president of the United States and he served his country well. There were times though when he was a lonely man. Thankfully, Franklin’s cousin Margaret saw this and she decided to do something about the situation.

Margaret brought the president a dog, a little Scottish terrier puppy that Franklin named Fala. After being trained by Margaret, Fala came to live with the president full time, and he soon became the president’s constant companion. He was there when the president had meetings, when he traveled, and when he had his meals. However, Fala was not allowed to be with Franklin when the president was giving his “fireside chats,” because Fala “wouldn’t promise to be quiet.”

In this delightful and very moving picture book, Elizabeth Van Steenwyk shares a very personal story with us. We find out how precious Fala was to the president, and how precious the president was to Fala. Michael G. Montgomery’s paintings and sketches perfectly compliment the text, capturing the meaningful relationship that the president and his dog shared.