There are many good things about growing up in a family with several children: There's usually someone available for companionship, to offer advice or commiserate with about life's ups and downs. But it can also suck for some kids if their siblings shine in an obvious way — perhaps in sports or playing the piano — while they don't. The idea that everyone has something valuable to contribute, even if it's not obvious at first, is the guiding force behind Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm, a new children's book written by Jon Katz. Filled with photographs of his four dogs at home on his farm in upstate New York, the book tells the tale of Rose, Izzy, Frieda and Lenore. While Rose herds sheep, Izzy visits sick people in area hospitals and Frieda works as a guard dog, the tome poses the question: What is Lenore's job? People who read the book will learn that her job may just be the most important of all — making the other dogs feel safe and accepted. “She has brought all of us together in a common and quite loving bond,” the author says. “Her spirit is the spirit of the farm.”
Katz signs books Monday at 6 p.m. at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood’s Rookwood Pavilion. Go here for directions and location details.