Wishworks, Inc. guaranteed their wishes would come true, but no one told Max exactly how they would come true. Remember what they say: be careful what you wish for!

If there was one thing Max was good at, it was daydreaming. He could close his eyes and go anywhere, have anything, and be anyone he wanted to be. And what Max wanted right now was a dog. A big, reddish-brown dog with a plumed tail and a big bark. A dog who could scare away all the bullies at his new school. But Max knew his mother wouldn’t let him have a dog, no matter how much he begged. Their boring old cat, Ali Baba, didn’t like dogs. 

He lay down on his bed after school, and as soon as his eyes closed, there was his dog, ready for adventure. They walked down the street, and Max saw something he’d never seen before—a little shop called Wishworks, Inc. It had a big window with a hand-lettered sign that said, “Wishes—Guaranteed.” 

He opened the door and walked in. A cheerful old man with white hair greeted him.

“Have you come to buy a wish?” he said.

“What does the sign mean, ‘Guaranteed’?” Max asked him. 

“Just what it says—you buy a wish from me, it comes true.”

Max said, “I want a dog, a real, live dog. That’s what I wish for.” 

“Done!” said the old man. “Your wish is done, but the dog may take a little time. But it’s guaranteed.”

When Max woke up the next morning, he heard his mother talking to their upstairs neighbor, who’d found a stray dog, and was trying to persuade his mother to adopt it. And before Max knew it, he had his dog—a  little yellow dog, not much bigger than a loaf of bread, with short legs, and a tail that looked like a rat’s tail. This wasn’t the dog he’d wished for—the big dog who could scare off anyone who picked on him! He had his wish—Ratty was definitely a dog, definitely real. And definitely not what Max had wished for. What was he going to do now?

This booktalk written by Joni Richards Bodart, university professor, writer, consultant, and booktalking expert.