Illustrated by: Cat Bowman Smith
Published by: Holt, 1992
Copyright © Marilyn Singer 1992

Chester, The Out of Work Dog


There were two things Chester loved most in the world – his family and his sheep.

Chester’s family was named Wippenhooper.  There was Ma Wippenhooper, Pa Wippenhooper, and their children, Claude, Maude, and Willy.  The Wippenhoopers all looked different.

The sheep all looked pretty much the same. But Chester could recognize each and every one.  He had to.  It was his job.

Every morning after breakfast Chester would herd his sheep out of their pen to a pasture.  Every evening he’d bring them back.  He ran ahead of the sheep and showed them where to go.  He steered them left.  He steered them right.  He charged and chased to keep them all in line.  He made sure not one of them got lost or hurt along the way.  He was very good at his work.

At night when his work was done, Chester would settle down happily with the Wippenhoopers first to listen to a little television and later to the quieter country sounds of the wind in the apple trees, the crickets in the grass, and the distant bleat of his sleepy sheep.  Then, curled up on Willy’s bed, Chester too would fall asleep and dream nothing but pleasant dreams.

But one day the Wippenhoopers sold the farm. They packed their belongings into a big truck and moved to town. Chester went with them. His sheep stayed behind.