Barney by Catherine Jinks
Ill. Stephen Michael King, Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742996226
(Ages: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dogs. Family. Humour. Verse. Cheeky Barney loves everything about the house. He loves the cat food, the greens secretly pushed down to him under the table, bacon, beans, biscuits, cake, candle and just about anything that can be found in the kitchen. He loves bibs, especially the one around the bay's neck, covered in squashed banana. He loves rice and peas spread across the floor. He even loves chilli, although it makes him sneeze.
A delightful rhyming story of Barney and his special place in the family is revealed in this wonderful read aloud, encouraging children to predict what word will rhyme with the end of the previous line, while laughing at Barney's tastes. And the last rhyme, begging a word that sounds like 'tea' will have all readers and listeners sigh happily with the knowledge that every child is the centre of a dog's attention within the family.
Family life is comfortingly displayed throughout the marvellous illustrations by King. Family life from a dog's perspective consists of legs of adults, children, things on the floor and under the table. Barney spots food whenever it falls within his range, and quickly scavenges it into his mouth. King shows an array of things that families and particularly the children do, from walking the dog, cycling, finding your way out of a maze, a family bbq, cooking, watching TV and playing in the garden. The whole wonderfully reiterates family life, underlining the things a family does together, supporting the theme of families for the readers.
Each page is full of household mayhem that a dog creates, filling each page with details to look at and talk about, things that will promote recollections of pets in their own homes and how they affected the family.
This is a wonderfully warm and loving story of family life, sure to intrigue all readers, especially those with a dog.