Another great find at The Boulder Book Store... Our Tree Named Steve. When I picked up this book (mainly because it was illustrated by David Catrow), I had no idea how good it would be.
It's perfect mentor text to teach letter writing, but it's more than that, it's a wonderful story about family, and change. In the book, a father writes a letter to his children explaining that their tree "Steve" (named by the youngest child who couldn't pronoun "tree") to tell them that the tree fell during a storm. The tree had drawn the family to the property originally and "Steve" became an important part of the family's life--holding swings, laundry, a hammock... and the secrets of first crushes and loving parents.
I laughed and cried when I read this story... it's both endearing and bittersweet. Its simple text combined with perfect illustrations make for a special read. I read it aloud this week to a group of adults... they loved it too. It would be perfect for inferring... using the illustrations of the dog especially.