I delightful batch of dog stories have turned up at work this month. I loved all three for different reasons, but my favourite of the batch was The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black.
Based on a true story, Mr Walker is a delightful illustrated chapter book about the Labrador Ambassador at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne.
The books is full of charming, funny and heart-warming tales. Featuring his first day in the hotel to helping out with a marriage proposal, to preparing for a charity ball, stopping a gang of thieves and entertaining a celebrity pianist. Mr Walker spreads love and happiness wherever he goes.
It’s a wonderful family read aloud book or a treasure for your favourite 7 yr old to curl up with.
Royalties from the sale of this book go to Guide Dogs Victoria.
The Dog Who Lost his Bark by Eoin Colfer is a darker dog tale for a more mature reader.
When I was little, my mum had to ban me from watching Kimba the White Lion and Lassie as I used to get too upset whenever Kimba or Lassie got lost, scared or in trouble (which seemed to happen every episode!) Even now, I struggle with books or movies that feature animal violence or cruelty in any way (The Lion King makes me blubber every time).
So the first two chapters of The Dog Who Lost His Bark were very tough going for me. P. J. Lynch’s sweet black and white illustrations helped me keep going though…a dog this cute and adorable had to be okay in the end surely.
Sensitive souls beware though, the first two chapters are harrowing.
However the pay off is worth the initial angst. Without giving anything away that the cover doesn’t already tell you, our cute adorable dog finds a happy home AND finds a way to show his gratitude for being rescued and loved so well, when things go wrong for young Patrick.
Colfer has created a heart warming, gentle story that is perfectly complemented by Lynch’s realistic drawings.
I loved it.
Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo is a picture book suitable for younger readers.
Rosie is a good dog, but she’s also a little shy and nervous about leaving the house and playing with other dogs. The park is a bit too busy and the other dogs too noisy and active.
This is the story of how Rosie overcomes her fears and embraces new friends. Charming and delightful with some slightly odd-ball moments, Good Rosie! is a picture book designed as an early graphic novel with nine short chapters.
All three books have illustrators who have captured the movement and poses of the dogs to perfection. The dogs are portrayed in such an authentic, loving way, that it’s impossible not to love them simply from their front covers. As you get to know each one via their stories, the pictures highlight their adorable little quirks and ways that make them unique.
I have spent most of my life being scared of dogs – too big, too boisterous, too many teeth. But I have always responded strongly to dog stories (as long as they don’t talk! But that’s another story). These three dog books celebrate a dog’s life through the eyes of the dogs themselves. When the world seems like a cold, harsh, unloving place, a good dog story can save the day.