Raymond by Yann and Gwendal Le Bec

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406362428
(Age: 5+) Recommended, Dogs, Behaviour. Raymond is a loved dog in the family. Each year the family treat him to a surprise birthday party, but one day Raymond has a big idea. Why shouldn't he sit with the family at tea. And so he does. After that it is a not a big stretch for him to do other human things, and soon all of the community's dogs are behaving like humans. They go to the theatre together, have their cappuccino mornings, and Raymond reads a magazine called Dogue.
When the family is out one morning, he goes to the offices of the Dogue magazine and asks for a job. He interviews a range of dogs and becomes so successful that he is soon a presenter on TV.
But then he is so admired that he needs security dogs to keep back his followers, a groomer to attend to his coat and nails each day, a secretary, and soon the only time his family sees him is on TV.
He becomes so stressed with all of the work he needs to do, his family persuade him to take a holiday.
Lying on the beach a ball is thrown near him and the old urge to chase the ball sets in.
He is cured and goes back to his family, quite content to be scratched behind the ears just like he was in the past.
This charming story of being satisfied with what you have, of having time to smell the roses, will resonate with younger children whose lives are filled with things that seem important at the time. An astute teacher could discuss with the class what is important to them, after reading how Raymond becomes a slave to his job, forgetting about the things that really made him happy.
The humorous illustrations will tickle the fancy of many readers as they see Raymond behaving as a human but make them question just what is most important to them.
With nods to the hipster generation, with its emphasis on screens, cappuccino and takeaway meals, this up to date picture book will leave readers with a smile of recognition.
Fran Knight