Literary dogs and family dogs
Dear friends, you might remember that my husband and I declared that we would buy a family dog if Mr 14 received 95% for a specific maths test.
Goodness me – our minimalist-homework son scored 100% on his pythagoras test!
We are currently researching dog breeds – there are requests for labradors, kavoodles and golden retrieviers. Any advice would be gratefully received.
In the meantime, I have researched the best literary dogs in picture books on our bookshelves.
Here are my favourites.
Harry the dirty dog written by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham – this is such a classic, published in 1956. There are also two other books about Harry.
Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except …having a bath.
I would use this book to teach students – here in the first sentence, we have the main character, a little about him, and then the problem to be resolved.
Because Harry doesn’t like baths, he runs away when he hears the water running in the tub. On his adventures, he becomes dirtier and dirtier until he becomes a black dog with white spots. Then when he returns home, he has to convince his family that he really is Harry, their dog.
Fancy Nancy and the posh puppy, written by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser – Miss 11 loved all the Fancy Nancy books when she was at kinder. In this book, Nancy (who likes to be fancy) is super excited because her family is going to get a puppy. She wants a papillon, like her neighbour’s dog, because its name means butterfly in French (very fancy). But her family aren’t too keen. Eventually, Nancy and her family find Frenchy.
My dad says Frenchy is a La Salle spaniel. That is a very unique breed. (Unique is fancy for one of a kind.)
Seven more sleeps, written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Donna Rawlins – Babs the Baby and Fog the Dog, along with Mum, star in this book. It’s a build-up to someone’s birthday and Babs and Fog are very excited as they count down the seven days. Every day, they do something to get ready for the birthday party. The repetition is perfect for toddlers and kinder kids – I used to read this a week out from my kids’ birthdays for years!
On Wednesday, Mum says, ‘It’s just four more sleeps until the birthday party.’
‘Four more sleeps!’ says Babs the Baby.
‘Woof, woof, woof!’ says Fog the Dog.
While they wait, they play musical chairs.
The excitement builds and builds, until on the last page readers find out that the party is for Fog the Dog and all his dog friends!
Sad the dog, written by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit – this is a beautiful story about a lonely dog who isn’t loved. It takes a new family with a little boy to make him feel special.
The little dog felt happy and in his heart he whispered his new name. Lucky. He was never Sad again.
Dog in, cat out written by Gillian Rubinstein and illustrated by Ann James –
The illustrations tell the story here, with a clock pictured on every page to let young readers know the different times of the day. All day, from early in the morning to late at night, the cat and dog are in and out the house as the family go about their day. The animals cause havoc as the family have breakfast, the bigger kids go to school, the toddler helps a pregnant mum hang the washing out, the kids kick the footy after school, then Dad is home to help with dinner. This is perfect for little ones who prefer pictures to words at this stage.
Let me know who your favourite literary canine creature is or offer some dog advice in the comments!