Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts, Illustrated by David Walker
A picture book with a message. Gee, they all seem to have a message. I blame it on Aesop with his "And the moral of the story is..." Okay back to this title. A boy is talking to his dog and asking him about what his life was like before the dog was adopted by his family. Did he have a boy? Did he get lost? Did he run away? Was he mistreated? There is a scene in an animal shelter which, for the format, is fairly accurate.
The watercolor illustrations are simplistic and clear. The dog is adorable. Who wouldn't want to adopt him?!
This is a good book for a family who has lost a pet and is thinking of adopting a new one. The reading level is about 2nd grade and the interest level is 4 years and up.