The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden
|The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A picture book which is going to appeal to adults and children and which had me laughing until the tears ran down my face. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 40||Date: March 2017|
|Publisher: Chronicle Books|
There's a Boy (who doesn't have a name) and a Dog (likewise) and in the beginning you get the feeling that the Boy would prefer to have next door's Dog who wins prizes in obedience classes and does clever things with the television remote control. That is until one morning when Boy opens the door a little earlier than usual and spots Dog getting out of a limousine. In a tuxedo. The he disappears into the back garden. Boy's shocked but a few minutes later he goes to the back door and whistles for Dog, who comes dashing in, anxious to eat. At first Boy can't quite believe what he thinks he saw, so he determines to follow Dog the next night.
The first shock is the dog house in the back garden. This isn't the dog house that Boy remembers helping to build: it has a living room, a bathroom and built-in wardrobes full of clothes and Dog is there fumbling with his bow tie. When he's ready he leaves the dog house and walks a short way until he meets his limo. Boy pedals after him and finds that Dog is running a nightclub for other dogs, where they can relax and be themselves. They can talk about the problems with the postman or the poodle next door. Sitting on the sofas is fine, as is chewing shoes and no one is going to complain if a dog wants to chase his tail. In The Doghouse, dogs can be dogs.
I laughed. I laughed until I had tears running down my face. My husband laughed and then stopped when he noticed that Dog in a tuxedo looked like Jimmy Savile. There's a picture where he only needed a cigar... but don't worry, you're not going to have to explain anything dodgy. You've got a delightful, quirky story which will make older children laugh and the younger ones will giggle because it's quirky and outlandish. I did wonder, just for a moment, whether or not this was one of those picture books which are aimed at the adult rather than the child, but - on balance - I think it works well for all ages. Some of the humour will go over the child's head - the way the pianist is gazing at the female singer, for instance, or the way the ears fall like blond hair on the cocker spaniel waitress, but generally the humour is universal.
It was only when I'd read through the book three or four times that I began to think about some of the issues surrounding the story. There's an essential message that it isn't the person (or dog) who wins prizes and does clever tricks who achieves the most: Dog is doing something which improves the lives of his fellow dogs - and he's doing it without a lot of fanfare. We also realise (if we didn't know it before) that dogs are a lot cleverer than we think. It also made me think about what we expect of dogs... But overall, it made me laugh a lot!
The story is well told. The text is quirky in itself (you'll have to read to see what I mean) and normally this would annoy me. I like clear text for emerging readers, but this is cleverly and clearly done. It's a book to treasure and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
I also laughed at Bear and Hare: Where's Bear? by Emily Gravett, another book which is going to appeal to adults and children.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden at Amazon.com.
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