Review Blog

Oct 23 2014

Little Dog and the Christmas wish by Corinne Fenton and Robin Cowcher

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742032368
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Christmas. Animals. Customs at Christmas. At this time of the year, there are so many Christmas books published that I despair of seeing anything different. Several years ago, I read a picture book called The gift of the Magi, an old story by American writer, O. Henry. I was stunned, here was something sweeping aside all the hype, stunning in its simplicity. And this one, Little Dog and the Christmas wish is another. An unadorned story, a story of a simple wish coming true, of the bond between a child and his dog.
When Jonathan and his family go out on Christmas Eve, the lightning scares Little Dog so much that he squeezes under the fence to search for his best friend. Familiar streets soon give way to those less familiar, until finally he is lost. He walks the streets, watching the shoppers, the old man in the alley, the busker and then the people bustling home for Christmas. Eventually he finds things become more familiar, he finds his house and there waiting for him is Jonathan, his Christmas wish answered.
A simple storyline, but told with compassion about the loving relationship between a child and his dog, about something lost being found, about Christmas being a time of reuniting with those you love.
The charming illustrations reflect a time half a century ago, when women dressed in stockings, hat and gloves to go shopping, a time of a horse led baker's cart, and a time of  street side paper boys. The ink outlines with watercolour sweeping across the pages entice the reader to spend time reading both the text and the drawings as the dog walks across the pages in search of its home. The images of the dog are continued on the endpapers making readers seek out those same images of the dog used throughout the book. And in the background are the customs of Christmas with which we are familiar and can be a point of discussion with a class or attentive listener. More information about this author can be found at her website.
Fran Knight

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