Review Blog

Oct 02 2014

I have a dog (an inconvenient dog) by Charlotte Lance

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317815.
(Age: Preschool) 'When I wake up my dog is inconvenient.
When I'm getting dressed, my dog is inconvenient.
And when I'm making tunnels, my dog is really inconvenient...'
But there are some times when the dog is not inconvenient and sometimes when there is no other source of comfort, particularly as the day draws to a close and dinner is disgusting, television is scary and it's time to snuggle down to dream.
This is a quintessential picture book where neither text nor pictures can make sense without the other. As we follow the child through the day, the text is minimal but the pictures tell the story so well, creating lots of laugh-out-loud moments as scenes familiar to anyone with a dog, particularly a young one, are played out with a detail that means there is no need for additional words. This would be a great bedtime read-aloud where parent and child could share it together, talking about their own experiences. (My dog is inconvenient when it's bedtime and I want the pillow but she is very convenient when we need to put the chooks away at night!)
But as well as its entertainment value, it also has an educational one particularly for the early reader because it encourages them to search the pictures for clues, interpret and explain them so the story make sense and forms a whole... Putting on my reading teacher's hat of days gone by, I can picture myself using this delightful book with some of my little characters who were struggling with sorting out this reading thing. As well as the value with the text/illustration relationship and having them talk and draw about their own dogs, it would also help them understand that they CAN read 'real' books just like their friends, overcoming the negative thoughts they impose on themselves about never succeeding. Imagine the thrill of being able to take it home and really read it so your listener listens, not to mention having mastered a roll-off-the-tongue word like 'inconvenient'!
One to promote to your early childhood teachers as well as your parent body.
Barbara Braxton

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