By: Jill Esbaum
Illustrated by: Scott Brundage
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: April 2020
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 17, 2020
A trucker and her beloved dog make a great team and love traveling the roads together. But when the dog gets mistakenly left behind at a rest stop, the clock is ticking to see if the two will be reunited.
Big Al is a cute little dog (big in spirit, but tiny in size) who is loved and adored by Jo, his very devoted owner. Jo is a trucker and the pair spend their days in their truck, heading down the road. It's a great life, until one day...
"Let's go, Big Al. No time to play.
Hop in - we're running late today.
Get settled while I check that jack.
Don't worry, pal; I'll be right back."
While Jo checks the jack, Big Al decides his "potty break" wasn't long enough and he wanders away to explore his surroundings. He meets a few hound dogs, finds a french fry, sneaks a lick of someone's lollipop, and finds so much more to do. Meanwhile, Jo thinks Big Al is in the truck (probably behind the seat, taking a nap) so she hops in and drives away.
When Big Al decides he's finished exploring he heads back to the truck...but it's gone! What will he do? Big Al is worried, and a bit frightened, as he thinks about all the great things he and Jo would do every day. Unfortunately, Jo doesn't realize her dog is gone until several hours later. Will she be able to find her best friend?
Where'd My Jo Go? is a story that will pull at the heartstrings of every reader, young and old. The expressions on Big Al's face, particularly as it grows dark, are enough to make anyone weepy. Big Al comes to life through the talent of illustrator Scott Brundage as does Jo and every other human and canine in the book. And while the topic of a missing dog is certainly a sad one, the story is truly a happy, feel-good read and will leave you and your children with a smile. At the back of the book is an author's note - The Rest of the Story - where author Jill Esbaum explains that she got the idea for Where'd My Jo Go? from a true story that a newspaper covered about a long-distance trucker who lost his dog at a rest stop. A wonderful story, with a happy ending - you should definitely add this one to your child's reading list!
Quill says: Delightful! I loved it!