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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Gareth is a black Labrador mix puppy who is full of energy. He’s also very smart. And he’s excited about going to school to find the perfect job for him. He wants to help in any way he can, but he has to learn to appreciate what he can do best. Can he bark fiercely to be a good guard dog? Can he sniff out an object from a pile of sand to be a good police dog? Can he be a seeing-eye dog and follow the tediously long sit and stay commands? What can Gareth do best? He’s handsome and loving and he tries his best to be good at everything he does, but, like people, he has his strengths and weaknesses. It’s a difficult task to pick the perfect job for Gareth, but he meets some interesting friends along the way – both two-legged and four-legged friends.
C.M. Harris’s picture book story, Gareth Gets a Job, is a sweet and endearing story about Gareth’s purpose. This true story about a service dog is tender, compassionate, and at times a little funny as Gareth tries multiple different possible jobs in his search to find what he can do best. Told in the first-person from Gareth’s point of view, the plot follows Gareth’s adventures as he’s introduced to different job opportunities for dogs. Not only does Gareth learn about the different types of service dog opportunities, but he also shares his experiences and his enthusiasm for young readers to learn as well and he does it in such a way that he’ll have young readers chuckling along with his antics and cheering him along, especially when he finds the right job for him. One particular point that Gareth displays in all his attempts at the various jobs is that all dogs, even working service dogs, have fun, too. Gareth really enjoys what he does and what he learns to do. At the end of the book, there is a short biography of Gareth, complete with a few photographs of Gareth with his owner (the author). This adds a personal touch to the story. There is also a list of important service dog jobs. This story speaks to the heart. Beautifully told and I love the illustrations.