The One and Only Wolfgang

Steve Greig, Mary Rand Hess (authors) and Nadja Sarell (illustrator) / Zonderkidz / 32 pages

What do nine senior dogs, a rabbit, a chicken, a pig, and an accountant have in common? They are the Wolfgang—the coolest family in town! 

Grieving the loss of his beloved miniature pinscher Wolfgang, Steve Greig begins rescuing elderly, unwanted, “unadoptable” dogs, welcoming them into his Colorado home, and giving them a new lease on life. When he reaches nine, he decides his family is complete (to him, 10 dogs feels like too many, but eight just aren’t enough). Along the way, Greig also takes in Stuart the rabbit, Betty the chicken, and Bikini the pig—and together, they become the inseparable, incomparable, one and only Wolfgang. 

This heartwarming children’s book (perfect for ages 4–8) chronicles the adventures of an unusual, fun-loving collection of animals (human and nonhuman) with one thing in common: They are a family. The One and Only Wolfgang: From Pet Rescue to One Big Happy Family is coauthored by Greig and New York Times bestselling author Mary Rand Hess, with rollicking illustrations (drawn around real photos) by Nadja Sarell and a foreword by Jodi Picoult (another New York Times bestselling author). The book teaches kids (and the rest of us) that families come in every shape and size, and that family means love, acceptance, and forgiveness. In the Wolfgang, it also means respecting who eats first, who eats last, and who eats the most.

Greig’s inspiring story also reminds us that, when it comes to canine family members, old is cool, too. All too often, senior dogs in need of a family are passed over by those seeking puppies or young animals. While they may not have as much time left, older dogs have just as much love to give and joy to share—and personalities big enough to fill hearts and homes. (Just don’t expect them to leave much room on the couch for movie night.) 

You can see more of the Wolfgang on Instagram @wolfgang2242.

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