'Rover'

Story Time

June 14, 2000|By Michael Rosen

Editor's note: A family dog makes some interesting observations about humans.

This is my pet human. Humans come in all sizes. She's the kind who's a bit bigger than me. I named her Rover. Her ears are not as good as mine.

She has very weak claws.

Her coat only covers her head.

Her dad, whom I call Rex, has coat on his face. Her mom, whom I call Cindy, doesn't.

Sometimes I sit on Rover. Sometimes Rover sits on Cindy. Sometimes Rover sits on Rex. Sometimes we all sit on each other.

Rover doesn't eat her food properly. She pokes it with metal things.

At night, I take her to her basket. It's very long, and when she's in it she hides under a cushion with small bears. I let her have a rabbit as well, though I would like it in my basket.

Rover's bark is very squeaky. Sometimes my friends bring over some other small humans. Since they're all so young, we think it's all right if they bark a lot together.

When Rover and I go to the park, she keeps losing her ball, but I always bring it back for her.

She spends a lot of time watching a loud, colored box. When she's bored with it, I wag my tail and she watches that instead.

In the summer I lead them to the family box and Rex and Cindy move it very quickly to the seashore. I help it go faster by putting my head out the window.

We go to an enormous sandpit, where humans rip off lots of their clothes. Then some of them run around like crazy, and some lie down and pretend to be dead.

One day last summer we sat in the sandpit while the wind blew the sand all over us. I liked it, but Rex and Cindy didn't. In the end they fell asleep on a blanket.

That was when Rover went for a walk toward the rocks. I was sad to see her getting smaller and smaller until she disappeared.

Then Rex got up from his blanket. He stood and looked up and down the sandpit. He woke Cindy and they both started barking.

Rex waved Rover's rabbit under my nose and barked. It was getting very loud and all the people who had been lying down stood up. Cindy gave me a pat.

I thought it was time to go back to the box, but I didn't want to go without Rover. So I walked off down the sandpit to fetch her.

Rex and Cindy were breathing loudly and they had more lines than usual on their faces.

We got to the rocks. In between the rocks were large puddles. In the puddles were stupid things with eight legs that walked sideways.

Rex and Cindy wanted to go back and tried to make me go with them. I thought that was a bad idea because we had come to get Rover.

Then I jumped over one more rock and there was Rover staring into a puddle.

I barked. She looked at me and pointed at one of those stupid eight-legged things. I barked again, and Rex and Cindy came over the top of the rock and started barking and howling. Their eyes were all watery and they rushed up to Rover and picked her up.

Soon we headed back. Cindy and Rex kept patting me all over and rubbing my neck. Rex kept showing Rover's rabbit to everyone and pointing at me.

At last we could all get in the box and go home.

And I thought: Next time Rover starts getting smaller and smaller, I'll chase after her to keep her nice and big.

Excerpted from the book ROVER. Text copyright (c)1999 by Michael Rosen. Illustrations copyright (c) 1999 by Neal Layton. Reprinted by arrangement with Doubleday Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. All rights reserved.

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