A dog like that! by Janene Cooper

cover image

Ill. by Evie Kemp. Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2016. ISBN 9781760360047
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Dogs. Pets. Comparisons. In this enticing book, each group of pages introduces a different dog and its owner and what it does best. Uncle's dog, a labrador, is clever and does what he is told, but the girl who owns the scruffy dog on the cover tells us that her dog is not like that. He does what he likes. Her Grandpa's dog is a watch dog, and keeps guard at night, but the scruffy dog sleeps. The neighbour's dog is fearsome, barking at all the other cats and dogs, but the girl's dog likes everyone and licks them all. Each dog is shown for something it does best, and the girl is told that all dogs should be like that. But as we read on we find that her dog is nothing like the other dogs: it sleeps with the girl, is happy to see everyone, is scruffy and rumpled, and unlike other dogs that leap and jump, her dog sits at the gate and waits for her.
Her dog knows when she is sad and licks her face, and stays in her room with her when she has done something wrong. And that is what dogs should be.
The bold illustrations have the reader looking straight into the face of the scruffy dog, comparing its behaviour with the other dogs and knowing which dog is the best. Each page uses one main colour with the dog prominently positioned by the words in a large font. It is a delight to read and look at the illustrations and I can imagine children reading it aloud, repeating the refrain, 'Dogs should be like that' with growing knowledge that the best dog is not like that at all. First published in New Zealand by Deep Creek Press in 2015.
Fran Knight