Just Perfect: More Adventures of Jules the Lighthouse Dog
by P.T.Custard
Illustrated by Ana Greer
Black Plume Books

"'Could it be?' Jules thought. 'Maybe being perfect doesn't have anything to do with color, size, shape, or long or short hair. Maybe there are many ways to be perfect—as many different ways as there are different dogs at the dog park.'"

Jules is a handsome Bernese Mountain Dog well aware of his good qualities. His size, color and voice are just right for his life beside the sea. Jules believes he is perfect, and his friends, who look exactly like him, agree. But when Jules visits a dog park and sees dogs that look very different from him, he becomes confused. These dogs aren't like him, so they can't be perfect, he reasons. So why are they so happy?

As Jules observes the antics of these varying breeds of canines that are bigger or smaller or faster or stronger than him, or have shorter or longer and/or differently colored coats, he begins to appreciate their different talents and abilities. He comes to understand that perfect doesn't have to do with how one looks or with being just one certain way. There are many ways to be perfect, and perfect really means being happy with who you are. It's a valuable message, and a comfort similar to the way Mr. Rogers used to say "I like you just the way you are."

The words and illustrations of this picture book work together so that this moral does not come across as didactic or preachy, but rather, goes down easy. P. T. Custard writes engagingly. Ana Greer's clean, bright colors and adorably drawn lively dogs will delight child and parent alike. A mischievous squirrel who shows up on several pages is an added treat.

As a picture book that is fun plus can plant the seeds for both self-esteem and appreciation for others who are different, Just Perfect is—dare I say it?—just perfect.

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