Dog house by Katie Abey

cover image

The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402310
(Ages: 1-4) Board book. Homes. Katie Abey, English author and illustrator, has created this bright, bold and glossy board book with textured illustrations (dirt ground, trees, pond water, beehive, birds nest).
The humorous illustrations, showing the dog looking very out of place in a bird's nest, on a lily pad, inside a rabbit hutch, and in a beehive will amuse young readers. The story follows the oft-told formula of an animal looking for where it belongs, and speaks directly and bluntly to the reader: 'Toby is lost. He is looking for his house'. This simple narration accompanies Toby's dialogue with the other animals, 'Do I live here?' he asks, 'No! I live here' says the bird. And so it continues, as Toby searches high and low for his home, a little like the baby bird's search in Are you my mother? Just as the rain mingles with his tears and Toby is starting to feel like he will never find where he belongs, he hears a 'woof' in the distance. Running into the sunshine, he finds another dog and a kennel with his name on it.
The simplicity of this book (perfect for its target audience) means that the text doesn't tell us everything (e.g. names of the other animals, the kind of homes they live in), leaving opportunities for children to point things out and infer meaning from the illustrations. Young children will be able to relate to this short text about having a place (home, bed, etc.) where you feel comfortable and cosy.
Nicole Nelson