Review Blog

May 05 2015

The complete guide to a dog's best friend by Felicity Gardner and David West

cover image

Hachette, 2015. ISBN 9780734415417
(Age: 4+) Dogs, Friendship, Responsibility. An older dog in a rescue home tells the younger dogs just how to look after their best friend, a human. Each double page offers a different scenario with the dog doing something for the human. The reader can see the scene from a human perspective, contrasting with how the dog sees what he is doing to be helpful, but we know it isn't. So on one spread we have the dog sitting on his master's face while he is asleep. The boy will think this is terrible, being woken by the dog, but from the dog's perspective, he is doing a great job of waking the boy. On another page we see the huge dog protecting his friend from a nasty garden gnome, being protective and responsible to his young charge. The boy sees this as funny, contrasting with the facial expressions of the dog. All through the book readers will see contrasting ideas of just who is the friend, as the dogs see themselves as the best friend of the child.
Children will love seeing the annoying things that dogs do, licking the toilet bowl, leading the way on a walk, pulling the stuffing out of a toy and so on, but couched in terms showing that the dog thinks these things are great to do. They will laugh out loud at the Disney style of illustrations showing a wide range of dogs. I love the different breeds shown in the endpapers, giving children a chance to learn about the different sorts of dogs.
Fran Knight

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