Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's Up With The Dog?

Is there a full moon coming?  Wait, let me check the latest NOAA update.  Most dog owners can agree, certain types of weather and lunar phases affect their canine companions.  Their behavior is the best predictor of a shift in either of these natural phenomenon.

On the other hand, add in their acute sense of smell, hearing and sight, and their focus can change in a heartbeat.  In Dog Gone! (G. P. Putnam's Sons), an author debut for illustrator Leeza Hernandez, a dog and his red-haired, little boy are featured in the common mental and literal tug-of-war between pooch and pal.   Both learn a single spur-of-the-moment adventure can bring what really matters into perspective.

Grinning with glee dog and his boy are playing Frisbee.  But a ferocious red T. Rex, a boy's only toy, undoubtedly a foe, is too tempting.  With a vengeance dog attacks, shaking the stuffing right out of the dangerous dino.

Understandably the boy is angry using heated words.  Dog leaps through an open window to freedom, running until he recognizes he is lost.  Rain, strays, a dingy alley and a cardboard box appear to be his new lot in life.

Through the gloom a spot of yellow appears, a shining light.  Love finds a way or in this case, a  furry friend.  I spy best buds forever and...is that a cat?

Spare language, smooth narrative and rhyme used by Hernandez combine to give readers a glimpse into the timeless bond between dog and human.  Two word phrases followed by a single longer thought add a cadence to the telling.  On a few of the pages extra sound text enrich the reading experience.  Younger listeners will beg to have every word read.

Happy dog.
Yappy dog.
Settle down, you snappy dog.

Digitally blending pencil, acrylic, print, paper and collage, Leeza Hernandez creates a sense of exuberant action throughout the story.  Bold colors mirror emotion, beginning and closing with endpapers in golden yellow with gray paw prints tracing a route across the pages.  Title page, verso and dedication show the brown on tan, tail-wagging pup in various poses.

Altering her pictures in size, two page, single page, small close-ups and center-framed singles, punctuates the mood of the moment.   There's a quality of texture, almost like block printing, in the smudging and layering of her varied mediums.  It's the little details that bring in the warmth and humor; paw prints on the dog's toy bucket, the dogs's ears and eyes, the eyepatch on the stray bulldog, the little boy's yellow boots and matching rain coat and hat.

Even if I were not a lover of all things dog, Dog Gone! written and illustrated by Leeza Hernandez is an AKC (amazingly, keenly, crafted) purebred doggy delight.  Young readers (and those young at heart) will relate to the give and take between dog and boy.  They will know when a home is shared between the two, it is a slow, patient process resulting in love and loyalty unlike any other.

I really enjoyed reading this interview with Lezza Hernandez about her road to publication.  I, for one, am certainly glad she made the journey.  Her professional website is linked to her name at the top.  The website specifically for this book is linked to the title immediately above.  Have fun everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment