Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Garth Stein
Illustrator: R. W. Alley
Back for a snowy adventure this time, Enzo the dog and Zoë and Denny, his owners, head to the Christmas tree farm. But none of the trees match Zoë’s idea of perfect as she ventures farther into the forest. Soon, caught in a snowstorm, Enzo and Zoë get separated from her father. Although Enzo can’t speak, he does his best to comfort Zoë under a tree. Then he gets an idea—he howls to the dogs they saw pulling sleds. Reunited with Zoë, Denny reassures her: “Sometimes kids get lost. But dads will never stop looking for them—always know that.” And Enzo barks to show them that somehow, the perfect tree found them. As the day winds to a close, Enzo gazes at their tree with a new understanding of the meaning of Christmas: family.
As before in Enzo Races in the Rain!, the book charms readers with its sweet relationship between dog and owners, its goofy perspective from a dog, and its beautiful and fun paintings that enhance the plot. A solid storyline with just the right amount of foreshadowing—and even some false leads—keeps both young and old readers hooked to find out how Zoë and Enzo will be saved. With a theme like hunting for a Christmas tree, the book can connect with lots of readers and activate good memories and experiences to be shared. Readers will enjoy finding out what happens to the family next in Enzo’s Very Scary Halloween and Enzo and the Fourth of July Races.