Quote of the Month

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

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fetching Canine Qualities

No two are ever alike.  There are indeed similarities.  Most of them bark, howl, growl, run, enjoy earning treats, have a great deal of intelligence, can read human emotions, and are loaded with loyalty and compassion.  They also portray characteristics uniquely their own.  Some may say it's a coincidence but dogs have a distinctive knack for selecting the perfect human pal.

There is no love like the love between a dog and their human.  Each acknowledges the other's strengths and quirks without reservation.  My Dog Laughs (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, August 21, 2018) written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora (I Hear A Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) reveals all those marvelous attributes and activities which makes sharing your days with a dog priceless.

I Meet My Dog

I name my dog.
This is Olivia.  This is River.
And this is Paco, Munchey, Daisy, and Josie.

Other observations when meeting your dog are to notice how much like you they are.  Their fur is the same color as your hair.  Their eyes have the same sparkle as your eyes.

The more you know them, the more you understand their likes; belly rubs and television watching.  When you are gone, they feel like a piece is missing in the puzzle of their lives.  Or

My dog farts a lot.  
P. U.,

Everything they do is interwoven into your days and nights creating a prized rhythm.

For some it's more work than for others but your dog craves learning and having a job.  They understand certain necessary things to do; sitting, staying and leaving it.  And even though they are not always as good as gold, they recognize when mistakes are made. 

When you go outside with your dog keep them close.  Proper attire is necessary according to the weather.  You'll have to give your dog plenty of exercise and pick up their messes.  Monitoring their behavior is all part of the going-outside routine.  The best part is playing with your pooch.  They go racing after snowballs, dig enormous holes in the sand and later sit quietly with you, resting.  Everything they do with you spells L. O. V. E.

Cheerful and charming, simple, short sentences and phrases fill six definitive portions of this narrative.  It's obvious  Rachel Isadora knows children and she knows dogs.  When she puts this knowing together, it's sheer magic.  She takes the best part of the relationship between children and dogs and presents it to readers. Here is a passage.

Sometimes my dog 
sleeps in my bed.

Sometimes I sleep
in his bed.

My dog likes to sleep a lot!

My dog dreams!

When you look at the front of the  matching and opened dust jacket and book case, you have to laugh.  Look at that dog!  Rachel Isadora gives us one of those rare, wonderful moments when dogs are experiencing bliss.  The red spine with dog bones goes down the front and along the back.

To the left, on the back, are four small interior images from the book.  Each is captioned as follows:

My dog laughs!
My dog dances!
My dog snuggles!
And best of all, my dog
is always happy to see me!

Hooray for dogs!

Twenty seven different kinds (breeds) of dogs are displayed on the opening and closing endpapers.  All of them are posed to look directly at readers.  On the title page a little girl is standing next to her seated dog that happens to be almost as tall as she is.  Both of them are smiling. Rachel dedicates this book

To Mocha and all her friends.

Mocha is her dog.

Rendered in watercolor and ink all of the illustrations are simply enchanting.  Each delicate line frames the soft, textured colorful hues. Every position and expression on the dogs and the children are sure to generate sighs.  Readers will be unable to resist reaching out to touch the pages. 

Several images are included on each page to enhance the pacing of the text.  Children will see themselves reflected in the children depicted here.  They will also see dogs that look like their dogs.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is the bottom one on a single page.  The sun is close to setting at the end of a day of fun.  It forms a path on the waves of a watery expanse.  Sitting in the sand and facing the sun with their backs to us is a boy and his dog.  Even though the dog is larger than the child, the boy has his left arm across the back of the dog.  Nearby are a pail and a sand shovel.

This book, My Dog Laughs written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora, begins and ends with laughter.  Your smile grows with each page turn.  The essence of dogs and their children is masterfully presented.  This title could be used as an introduction to life with a dog, in a dog-themed unit, as a guide for writing descriptive sentences and phrases or for the joy it brings to readers.  You will want this title on your professional and personal bookshelves.

To learn more about Rachel Isadora and her other work, please visit her website by following the link attached to her name.  At the publisher's website you can view an interior illustration.   (Now go hug your dog or find a friend's dog to hug.)

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