Good Dog Hank by Jackie French

cover image

Ill. by Nina Rycroft. HarperCollins, 2014. ISBN 9780732293642. ebk.ISBN 9780730496397.
(Age: Early childhood) Hank is a very good dog - or so it seems. He obeys all the house rules like not eating from the table or climbing on the beds or chasing cars although he does have his own way of interpreting them! But it's always with the best of intentions or the taking of opportunities that present themselves. This is a really funny story from master author Jackie French brought to life by the charming pictures of Nina Rycroft, the team who created Dinosaurs Love Cheese. Apart from the humour of Jackie's words, their interpretation using what has to be the B-I-G-G-E-S-T dog ever, who is all legs, tongue and tail, makes this the perfect picture book in which there is such a marriage between text and illustration that one would be diminished without the presence of the other.
Written at a fast clip with nothing extraneous, we follow Hank as he gallops through the day in his own way, being really good in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge sort of way, depending on whether you are viewing his actions through the perspective of an adult, a child or Hank. It would be a great introduction to teaching children that how we see something depends on our role within it. It might be OK to wear a sock washed by Hank's slobber if you're a child, but maybe not so flash if you're in charge of family laundry.
This is a feel-good story that can be a read-aloud, read-along or read-alone because it will touch the heart of anyone who has ever had a dog with a mind and a mischief of its own. You don't have to be a younger reader to relate to this story and enjoy it. One of these days I'm going to do one of those magical garden tours of Jackie's garden and I fully expect to see Hank there somewhere.
Barbara Braxton