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"'She really is adorable. Such a

calm little puppy." Mom said after

we brought her home from the shelter.

It's amazing how often my Mom can be wrong. It didn't take long to find out how wrong she was this time...

Tina was full of mischief, but we loved her a lot.

She would eat anything, anytime, anywhere. She even ate a lemon once. She sure was a funny dog.

THE CHRISTMAS PUPPY gets a Christmas present-                Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!

This story will win your heart...

From the moment Zach's family takes Tina into their home, the puppy controls their lives. She is mischievous, curious, impossible to discipline, but oh, so lovable! One night, Tina runs off. Rewards are offered, but no Tina. December is in full swing when Zach spots Tina with a scruffy-looking old man who is not about to give back his dog. It's all he has! The resolution of this story is just right for the holiday season. The book design is so cheery that you'll want to put it on your gift list.” - Jan Lieberman,Children's Literature     


"The story touched me when the dog ran away and Zach was sitting at the edge of the bathtub crying. My favorite part of the story was when Tina spreaded all the food in the party and Zach's father said this dog made me waste $300!" Ana V., Brooklyn, NY 


"The Christmas Puppy is my favorite book. It inspired me by showing how to handle life and its mysterious ways. I connected with the main character because the same thing happened to us. It's hard to have something you love so much run away. It helped knowing another person had the same experience and I can read it and see what they did and how to be more careful and take more responsibility so I will be prepared for the real world when I get older. This book changed me by knowing how to love something and take care of it.  I have a dog now and I'm taking better care of it. Well, it's great. Thank you." - Chelsea H.D., MI

Zach and Tina as they appear in 

Bruce McNally's watercolor illustrations for 

The Christmas Puppy.

The real Zach and Tina shortly after our family adopted her. 

We were very sad and searched everywhere for a long time. Finally, we came to accept the fact that Tina wasn't coming back. Like the family in this book, we hoped she had found someone who loved her as much as we did. Still, as time passed, I couldn't help wondering what would happen if we did see Tina again. What if she were happy in her new home? What if her new family wouldn't want to give her back? What would we do?

Somehow, I felt that decision would have to be Zach's, and so I wrote the story about Tina in his voice, confident my understanding of his nature would lead me to the conclusion. But I didn’t write the story because I thought it would make a good book. I wrote it to help me feel better. And it did. Working out my thoughts and feelings through the writing process helped lift the sadness I carried inside.

Years later, after I started writing and illustrating children’s books, I discovered the story tucked away in my files. I thought the theme, and many of the issues it raises, (as well as the funny incidents!) would appeal to young readers, so I decided to publish it. Judging from the letters I've received, I'm glad I did!


The Christmas Puppy is based on a true story. Several years ago, when our son, Zach, was in elementary school, our family adopted a puppy we named Tina. She was a lively, mischievous little dog who looked just like the puppy in this book. Our Tina also loved to run free, and always found her way home…until the day she pushed open the garden gate and disappeared forever.

     The Christmas Puppy

"A pup is in the Christmas spotlight with this touching chapter book...Sprinkled with  supple watercolors and trimmed with thin red borders on each page, this gifty-looking volume gently tugs the heartstrings."

                                       - Publisher's Weekly 

The Christmas Puppy
Gold Embossed Hardcover ISBN 0-439-08285-4

Paperback ISBN 0-439-14256-3

5 1/​2" X 8", 64 Pages
Illustrations by Bruce McNally

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