Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dog Loves Books

Not to just flatly restate the title or anything, but Dog loves books. He loves absolutely every little thing about them: the smell, the feel, the way you become immersed in the story and completely lose track of time. And when a dog (or person) loves books like that, they feel compelled to share their love of reading with friends and family, even total strangers.   

Dog follows his heart and decides to open his own bookstore. Judging by their comedic expressions, his friends are aghast at the announcement. Although Dog has put a significant amount of hard work into his grand opening, there is not a crowd of anxious customers waiting by the door as he had expected. Rather, this canine is in for a long, boring day, his body drooping across his desk. Poor, dejected Dog.

Suddenly Dog remembers that he is surrounded by the things he life he loves the most! How could he have forgotten? He fetches (har har) a book from the shelves and is instantly surrounded by a crowd of friendly dinosaurs. Dog is immediately lost in this new world and quite forgets about being alone and his lack of bookstore customers.

I love Louise Yates' illustrations. I love the way Dog flops across a book on his back, luxuriating in the feel of the pages against his fur. I love the way his ears nearly stand at attention, save for the tips that curl forward. I love her use of pastels, though her books never seem too babyish because of it. I love the way Dog prepares a proper tea for himself, with matching cup and pot balanced on a handsome tray. And I love the way he presses both front paw together in pleasure and anticipation when he thinks a customer has entered his shop. There are hundreds of lovable details in this book!    

Although I truly loved the book, it would have been nice to see Dog's bookstore as an immediate rollicking success. But it's far more important that in spite of the initial disappointment, Dog continues to enjoy books in the way he always has and remains committed to sharing that joy with others. This is evident is the way that he takes an active role in assisting his first customer select the right books - wearing a tutu (and sweet striped tights), manning a tiny UFO and stealing an airplane ride.  
Louise Yates is also responsible for the wonderful A Small Surprise

Review copy provided by Random House.

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