We see them all too often in our community: stray dogs wandering the neighborhood, running in and out of traffic, scavenging for food and water. It’s not uncommon for people to look the other way and assume that the dog will be okay. Reading “Good Dog” might make you think twice before turning away next time.

Ivan is a good dog. He just wants to figure out where he belongs. Is it on his own? Too lonely, and too hard to find adequate food and water. With a human? He’s not sure he’s cut out for the domesticated life. With other dogs? In his quest to find his place, Ivan joins with a pack of dogs and, while he enjoys the companionship and benefits, finds the personalities and politics difficult to accept.

Don’t worry – I’ll tell you right now that Ivan’s ending is not a sad one, so no need to break out the Kleenex. And the story is not a complicated one with extremely detailed, colorful drawings and dialogue bubbles popping up everywhere. In fact, I found that the black and white illustrations and low-key, to-the-point language were a refreshing change that added to the retro feel of “Good Dog.”

I’ve run out of space here, but don’t let that keep you from the Joplin Public Library’s graphic novel collection. If none of selections above appeal to you, you might try “Lost Cat” by Jason, “Number Cruncher” by Si Spurrier and P.J. Holden, or “A Contract with God” by Will Eisner, all relatively new additions to our collection. And there is always the Teen Department, whose shelves are well-stocked with graphic novels.