The Poky Little Puppy (A Little Golden Book Classic) (Hardcover), by Janette Sebring Lowrey. Many will remember this book, first published in 1942, fondly from their youth. In fact, according to Wikipedia, as of 2001 it is apparently the best-selling English-language hardcover children's book of all time! The story involves 5 explorative puppies that dig a hole under the fence and escape out each day. One puppy, the "Poky Little Puppy" has a knack for sensing when dessert is about to be served, and the puppies rush home to get it. They don't always receive it, though, as their owner withholds dessert to punish their hole-digging. Ultimately, four puppies fill the hole, are rewarded with strawberry shortcake, and leave the Poky Little Puppy, who arrives late, to go to bed without any cake, "and he felt very sorry for himself." Excerpt:
'What is he doing?' the four little puppies asked one another. And down they went to see, roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble, till they came to the green grass; and there they stopped short. 'What in the world are you doing?; they asked. / 'I smell something!' said the poky little puppy. Then the four little puppies began to sniff, and they smelled it, too. 'Rice pudding!' they said. And home they went, as fast as they could go, over the bridge, up the road, through the meadow, and under the fence. And there, sure enough, was dinner waiting for them, with rice pudding for dessert."
Bookworm's interest at 19 months: When I opened this up, I thought there was far too much text for his age. To my surprise, though, he sat through the whole book, and keeps bringing it to me to reread. He most enjoys the idea of counting the puppies, and shakes his head whenever the text says where the Poky Little Puppy isn't.
Parent's Peeve: Poor Poky Little Puppy, with no strawberry shortcake.