Rockwell: A Boy and his Dog by Loren Spiotta-DiMare

“Hello, Scotty. How’s my favorite model?” asks the artist in his deep and gravelly voice. So begins another day for Scotty Ingram. The artist, none other than Norman Rockwell, has chosen Scotty to pose for a series of calendar paintings, entitled “A Boy and His Dog.” Though Scotty is the perfect model, Rockwell struggles to find just the right kind of dog to accompany the boy until a timid little stray enters their lives and into illustration immortality.

This fictionalized tale is a delightful homage to Norman Rockwell and his world. Realistically rendered, Cliff Miller’s illustrations have a soft, nostalgic quality about them. Several reproduced prints of Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers also make appearances throughout the book. The story itself successfully draws the reader into the special and whimsical relationship shared between artist and model, as exemplified by a double-page spread where Rockwell is seen gleefully riding his bike with Scotty and his friends.

Although this title will delight Rockwell aficionados and serve as an aid to art history curriculum, younger children will likely not grasp the significance of the artist or appreciate Miller’s sentimental style. The text itself, more suited for mid to late grade school age, is wordy, overly descriptive and will not hold the interest of little ones for very long.