Spike is a dog with a message: "Get to know me! I'm good-hearted. Loyal. Smart. If you could see inside my heart, you'd say...beautiful." His awful owner sees only Spike's exterior and leaves him by the roadside one day. A boy named Joe finds Spike and recognizes the dog's beautiful qualities. He even takes him home to be his own dog. But, like in most families, Joe's desire to keep Spike did not align with his mom's reasons for not having a dog. Alas, there is conflict. Spike tries desperately to be more likable. I will end there so as not to spoil the beautiful ending for you.
As if the story were not enough, the artwork is ingenious. Some of it is created from well-loved and worn denim (most of it donated by friends). Some is cut from the hanging sheets of Canson paper in her studio. The extravagant cat named Evangeline is cut from a wedding dress (purchased from Goodwill)! Ripped pockets hold words. Frayed edges form the borders for characters. Hems line the page gutters and mark scenes. There is not another book like it, and Spike definitely gets the prize for the best illustration description on the CIP page:
"The illustrations for this book are collaged with Cansons papers, used clothing, and
worn blue jean pieces. The heans were fathered from friends, students, coffee shop
comrades, and thrift stores, as well as the author-illustrator's own collection. Bits and
pieces of paper, cloth, and denim were adhered to cut-to-size Styrofoam garage door
insulation with pins and repositionable glue, then photographed with a Hasselblad 501C
with a LEAF APTUS 65 digital back. The digital files were adjusted in Photoshop."
Though Spike does not officially appear in bookshops until October 1st, copies were available at the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair. Mine is sitting on my lap as I type. I'm glad to finally have it in hand.