• Happy Birthday to Aliki (Digging Up Dinosaurs, Mummies Made in Egypt, Feelings) and to me, Anita Silvey (The Plant Hunters, Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot).
  • It is the birthdate of American author Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), best known for The Country of the Pointed Firs. Jewett’s children’s book Play Days was published in 1878.
  • Happy birthday also to Barkley the Dog on Sesame Street.
  • This day in 1752 never did happen, nor did the next ten! England adopted the Gregorian calendar, and jumped from 9/2 to 9/9 to get in synch with other nations who had already switched to this arithmetical calendar. Read A Child’s Calendar by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
  • It’s Skyscraper Day! Visit your nearest high rise, and read Skyscraper by Susan E. Goodman and Michael J. Doolittle or Unbuilding by David Macaulay.

September has been designated World Animal Remembrance Month. So since I like to think about dogs, I’m going to feature some famous dog protagonists who deserve to be remembered: Spot, Art Dog, the unnamed heroes of Go, Dog. Go! and Steven Kellogg’s irrepressible Pinkerton. Possibly September should just be designated Steven Kellogg appreciation month. Steven has given so much to the field of children’s books—both in the great picture books he has created and the hours he has spent talking to children. There was a time in his life when he traveled forty weeks out of the year to visit classrooms and libraries.

Now, as Almanac readers know, over the past two years I have been engaged in training my Bernese Mountain dog Lancelot. Actually as I write, Lance has been banished to the outdoors because he believes the computer to be a rival for his affection. Like many pups in training, he has developed selective hearing, showing a bizarre mixture and obedience and chaos. I should have been reading Pinkerton, Behave! every day just to console myself.

In a story inspired by Steven’s own Great Dane named Pinkerton, the book focuses on the dog’s training, because like every puppy he needs to learn how to behave. At first the patient family tries to train Pinkerton at home, but he quickly develops some peculiar habits. “Come” sends him jumping out the window, and “fetch” causes him to eat the newspaper. So like dog owners the world over, the family calls in some professional help and sends Pinkerton to dog school. Unfortunately, Pinkerton affects the dog school much as my Lancelot did—he still doesn’t get commands but causes the other dogs to disobey. Pinkerton proves to be particularly clueless on the “Get the burglar!” command and acts as if he has just met his new best friend. But, of course, even misbehaving Great Danes have a role to play. When a real burglar arrives in the house, Pinkerton saves the day! As a proud owner says in the end, “I love you, Pinkerton.”

In this book as in all of his work, Steven combines a totally satisfying story with drawings filled with energy and exuberance. In fact, Steven Kellogg has never stopped having fun making picture books that are child-friendly and filled with humor. So if you know anyone who needs to laugh a bit about an ill-behaved puppy, get them a copy of Pinkerton, Behave! I am going to read it to Lance today; maybe he will pick up some new commands. I remain optimistic—if Pinkerton can be trained, Lance will not be far behind.

Here’s a page from Pinkerton, Behave!:


Originally posted September 3, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Dogs, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Pinkerton Behave!


  1. Sarah says:

    Yay for a day to recognize the importance of dog shelters! A HOME FOR DAKOTA is another wonderful story about a dog, the woman who rescues him, and the girl who adopts him.

  2. Mary Ann says:

    I love the sound of this – can’t wait to find it in my library! I just read students The Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson & Mary Nethary and illustrated by Jean Cassels. I love the message of friendship and helping others, especially as many communities clean up in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Would make another lovely addition to your month.

  3. John Schu says:

    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday Dear Anita
    Happy Birthday to You.

  4. Anita says:

    John: Thank you for your birthday wishes!

  5. G. Perry says:

    Happy Birthday Anita. I wish we could all give you a cake with candles. It’s a birthday every morning as I meet a new book on this site, and what a way to celebrate the beginning of each sunrise. Speaking of which, I’m walking Ozark lake hills as I read your review and wishing you blessings on this day.

    Oh wow! There goes 4 white tail deer across the trail!!

    Love today’s book and can’t wait to get hold of it.

  6. Happy Birthday Anita!

    You have been giving us presents every day, so it would be nice if we could reciprocate somehow.

    I wish you all the best on this fantastic day and many great reads in the year ahead.

    Thanks for another great book tip (Pinkerton Behave!) from the Almanac on this great day!

    Read Aloud Dad

  7. Anita says:

    Thanks Gordon and ReadAloudDad for the birthday wishes. I took the dogs out for our walk through farm country this morning. No deer, but lots of other dogs, people, and an unspoiled landscape.

  8. Today is a special day! Thank you Anita for sharing your birthday thoughts on Happy Birthday Author today:


  9. Anita says:

    Eric: Thanks for this post — and for celebrating my birthday on your blog.

  10. joyce says:

    Happy birthday, Anita! I was so pleased to recommend your excellent and engaging book, Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot to a grandmother who was taking her grandsons to Fort Ticonderoga a few weeks ago. They were delighted with the map on the endpapers and to discover their journey to Fort Ticonderoga would be similar.

    You and this blog are a treasure! All the best to you!

  11. G. Perry says:

    Well, here’s another memory for me on Anita’s birthday. I have waited years to see a Pileated Woodpecker, and at 9:02 A.M. Central, I saw the first one I’ve ever seen. . Female All black with white and a red cap. It looked to be about as tall as fthe length from my elbow to the end of my hand. I identified it with certainty through Cornell.

    This bird is nearly identical to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Cornell tried to find about 100 miles east of my current location. From the size of the Pileated I saw, I now understand why they call Ivory-billed “The Lord God” brid. You gasp the first time you see something like this.

    I’m labeling my log entry to Cornell as The Silvey Birthday Pileated Sighting.


  12. Anita says:

    Gordon: Happy to have a Pileated Sighting in my name. I actually get to see several in Northern Vermont, where I had a house for a few years. They are truly inspiring birds.

  13. Dawn says:

    The funny thing about PInkerton is this book has been around at least 30 years! I read this book as a child and remember it to this day. In fact, if I ever get a house/yard big enough I am going to own a Great Dane and name him PInkerton or her for that matter!!! I love this story to this day. There is another book that involves Pinkerton with the kitten Rose his new playmate. I am now going to have to buy these two books and whatever other Pinkerton ones I can find because it has brought back so many good childhood memories!!!

  14. Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday, Anita!
    Thank you for all of your wonderful writings about books I’ve loved for years and new titles that I need to try. We love seeing new books posted via your site on our library page every day of the year!
    Hope you have a happy birthday,

  15. Happy Birthday Anita!!
    I love Steven Kellog. I red only two of them as a child. “The MisteriousTadpole” and “The Boy who was Followed Home”.
    Great memories. Have to read more of them. I love dogs, so Pinkerton looks great!


  16. Linda Elsner says:

    Good old Pinkerton! Steven Kellogg’s picture books are a treasure – read every one I could find at the library to my son. I’m sure Lance will come around – seems like big dogs have a very long puppy-hood & a long adolescence too! (I had a yellow lab.)

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