The Poky Little Puppy

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The Poky Little Puppy
Author Janette Sebring Lowrey
Illustrator Gustaf Tenggren
Country United States
Series Little Golden Books
Genre Children's books
Publisher Golden Books

The Poky Little Puppy is the titular character and a children's book written by Texas author Janette Sebring Lowrey (2 March 1892 – 17 March 1986)[1][2][3] and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren. It was first published in 1942 as one of the first 12 books in the Simon & Schuster series Little Golden Books. The copyright was renewed in 1970.

In the 1980s a short-lived plush Poky was released, but did not sell well.

As of 2001, it was the single all-time best-selling hardcover children's book in the US, having sold nearly 15 million copies.[4] While the book has outsold many other famous books such as Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, Lowrey herself (who also wrote stories about children in her home state of Texas) had remained in relative obscurity.[5]


Instead of following his siblings when they all sneak out to play, the Poky Little Puppy lags behind to observe other things. In the beginning, his independence is rewarded. The puppies had all dug a hole underneath the fence to escape from their yard, but only the Poky Little Puppy's siblings are caught. The Poky Little Puppy avoids punishment because he's off exploring as his mother scolds his siblings, and he comes home alone after everyone is asleep. The Poky Little Puppy then eats the rice pudding that the mother was planning to give all the puppies but withheld because of the fence-digging incident. This pattern then repeats itself, only with chocolate custard for dessert instead of rice pudding.

Only at the end of the book does fate catch up with the Poky Little Puppy. When the puppies are sent to bed without dessert a third time, they wait until they think their mother is sleeping, then sneak out of bed and fill in the hole they'd dug under the fence. She sees them doing this and rewards them with strawberry shortcake. The Poky Little Puppy not only arrives too late to get any strawberry shortcake, but is forced to squeeze between the fence boards since the hole has been filled in. The book concludes with Poky Little Puppy going to bed without a bite and feeling "very sorry for himself." The next day there is a sign outside that says "NO DESSERTS EVER UNLESS PUPPIES NEVER DIG HOLES UNDER THIS FENCE AGAIN!"


  1. ^ U.S. Census 1920, State of Texas, County of Harris, enumeration district 51, p. 9-B, family 245.
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009.
  3. ^ Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  4. ^ Roback, Diane; Britton, Jason, eds. (December 17, 2001). "All-Time Bestselling Children's Books". Publishers Weekly 248 (51). Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Toal, Margaret (2008-12-21). "Orange native wrote 'Poky Little Puppy,' the best-selling kids' book of all time". The Beaumont Enterprise. Retrieved 2009-12-14.