My dog Socks by Robyn Osborne and illustrated by Sadami Konchi

cover image

Ford St, 2017. ISBN 9781925272826
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Family. Love. Imagination. Socks' owner loves walking with his dog, because wherever they go Socks becomes another animal. If they are in the forest, he becomes a black bear, scraping the trees with his claws, or a wild wolf, calling to the moon, or a terrible tiger, searching for prey. When they visit the farm, he is more like a contented cow, rolling in the grass, or a pongy pig, mucking about, while at the beach he becomes a daring dolphin, cresting the waves. In the garden he becomes a mischievous magpie, reaching for snacks, or a curious cat, racing in circles. Each double page has a glorious illustration of the boy with his dog, Socks, as he and the dog explore their environment, the dog taking on the attributes of each animal, with its shadow the shadow of that animal. Readers will love seeing the dog become those animals as they turn each page. The watercolour illustrations are just delightful, underlining all the while the antics of the dog, and the bond between Socks and his owner, as they walk through the forest, visit the farm, go to the beach and play in the garden. A host of different activities are shown, and the background displays an Australian lifestyle, a barbecue, paling fence, Hills clothes-hoist, outside toilet and bungalow.
Each animal is presented with alliteration followed by two sentences brimful of movement and colour.
I love the front cover, impelling the reader to pick up the book and turn the page while the endpapers cleverly reflect the relationship between the boy and his dog and foreshadow the way in which their relationship is represented.
Children will relish the way the dog is part of the boy's life, and see that their relationship is a mutual one, each is the other's best friend.
This is a lovely addition to the range of books available about the place of dogs in our families and our hearts.
Fran Knight