Please, Puppy, Please

Written By: Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee 

Illustrated By: Kadir Nelson

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Take a moment to look over the cover and illustrations with your child before beginning your read-through. Give your child time to point to the children, puppy, and any other items on the cover and various pages that are of interest. For younger children, point to different elements and comment on what you see. Also ask them to point to things by asking, “Can you point to the little girl and boy?” If your child is verbal, ask questions like these to get him/her engaged:

Do you see the dog? What sound does a dog make?

Why do you think the children are saying “Please, Puppy, Please” to the puppy?

What do you think this story is about?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

If you have a dog or any other pet at home, ask your child what his/her pet is named and how this pet is different or similar to your own. Then, dig in and get started reading!

As You Read

There are very few words throughout this book, so have fun, and use your voice to make this an engaging book for your little one. If your child is verbal, encourage him/her to say “please” with you as you read. Point to the words and when you get to “Please, Puppy, please”, say “Can you say it with me?” Give prompts if needed, and after a few readings, s/he will come in right on queue.

Making Connections:

If you have a dog or your child has experience playing with a dog, make the story more relate-able by asking your child about how this dog’s behavior is similar to a one that s/he has interacted with. Ask, “Has our dog ever tried to run away when we give him/her a bath? What happened? How did we catch him?” or “What are some things that this dog does that our dog does too?” For younger children, simply describe if you’ve ever had similar experiences with a dog yourself.

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask simple questions about what happened in the story and then answer them yourself, giving your child a recap and getting him/her into the habit of thinking about the story once it is through. For older children, ask these questions to gauge his/her understanding of the story and it’s relevance in the real world:

Did you like the story?

What are some things that the children did with the puppy?

Is it hard or easy to take care of a puppy? Why?

To make your discussion more fun, go for a walk around your neighborhood, or to the nearest park!  When you see dogs, be sure to say, "Please, puppy, please, __________," and insert serious and silly things.  For example, "Please, puppy, please run over here!" or "Please, puppy, please, lick my hand."  Help your child make the connection between the dog in the story and dogs in real, everyday life.

Activities: Signs and Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Supplies: Lots of stuffed animals and your Please, Puppy, Please book!


Have a stuffed animal sleepover with your child before his/her own nap time.  Help your child collect stuffed animals, especially dogs, bring them all into your child's bedroom or another room in your home.  Tell your child, "It's nap time for all of our friends!  They need a story before bedtime, don't you agree?  Let's read Please, Puppy, Please to them.  Tuck the stuffed animals in, whether on the couch or floor, and cuddle up for your own reading of Please, Puppy, Please.  If your child is talking, encourage him/her to join in with parts of the reading, or to use the new sign for "please," throughout the book!

Sign for “Please”

If your child is not yet speaking, but does understand your words, try teaching him/her the sign for "please," so it is easy to join you when you do subsequent readings of the book.  Watch this video on baby sign language to learn the sign.  Every time you say the word "please" while you read, or at other points in the day, use the sign and encourage your child to do the same.