Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

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Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: We all want to stand out from the norm once in a while and what better way to do this than walking around on a massive pair of stilts. Join Medium Dog and his friends and watch as their crazy antics begin to unravel in this eccentric tale.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 44 Date: November 2014
Publisher: Digital Leaf
ISBN: 9781909428058

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Once you have reached adulthood, never try and understand what is going on with a child’s imagination. Whilst they can sit on the floor and talk to their imaginary friends, from the age of 20+ this is suddenly frowned upon. A child can think of crazy and wonderful things that would not even cross an adult’s mind. That is unless you are an author of children’s books, then you can come up with an idea as strange as a dog who likes to use stilts.

James Thorp’s ‘Dog on Stilts’ is a book that throws you into a rather strange and slightly dark world with no form of flotation device; this is a sink or swim book. This seems to be a world populated by dogs, many of whom have eccentric quirks that make them stand out from the norm. This grates on Medium Dog who is just a normal dog, so to stand out he decides to stand up on top of some very, very tall stilts.

The amusement in the book is taken mostly from Angus Mackinnon’s visuals. The idea that a dog would roam around a city being taller than a 2 story building is bizarre, but fun to look at. Thorp’s story is a little light on the ground and is based entirely on the central premise, without much other fanfare. What goes up must invariably go down, but shouldn’t we have had a little more fun in-between?

There is a darkness to ‘Dog on Stilts’ that I found a little off putting. The book appears to be aimed at the mini macabre, the tiny terrors or the small surrealists out there. It has such a striking visual presence and an odd premise that it will miss with as many kids as it hits. Being different is not bad thing (although the book’s moral tries to suggest there is nothing wrong with being the same), but there are also some practical issues with the book.

As Dog is often up high, Thorp and Mackinnon have made the choice to flip the book from the usual portrait style to the landscape. This happens more than once in the book and not always in a row. This means that you are twisting the book left and right as you read the story. All fun and games, until someone loses an eye, or gets over excited as they are going to sleep. Flipping the book once, or even twice, may have been fun, but it is just at an impractical level here.

For some child somewhere, this book is perfect for them. However, as a fan of the more odd things out there myself, even I found this book a little too much. The concept does not really make sense and you are thrown in with little preamble. There is a little too much style here and not as much substance or practicality, not to mention that the dark imagery borders on the scary for the very small.

Looking for something a little surreal, but also great fun then try George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl or perhaps you are barking mad for a great dog story; Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion has the woof stuff.

Buy Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at

Buy Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog on Stilts by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon at


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