________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 2004


The Dog From Arf! Arf! to Zzzzzz.

The Dog Artlist Collection.
New York, NY: HarperCollins (Distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada), 2004.
32 pp., cloth, $21.99.
ISBN 0-06-059858-1.

Preschool-Kindergarten / Ages 3-5.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

** /4


The Dog Artlist Collection features dogs photographed at unique angles by dog lovers using special lenses to highlight the features of each puppy. The photographs in this book were selected from a portfolio of more than 100,000 images. These unusual photographs first appeared in Japan as a collection of postcards and quickly expanded into a line of calendars, plus animals, games and more, all available worldwide. You can visit The Dog Artist online at www.thedog-club.com.
(From the dust jacket.)

As the title suggests, The Dog From Arf! Arf! to Zzzzzz is an alphabet book which uses photos of dogs, pups in particular, that are involved in activities in which the first letter is linked to the desired letter of the alphabet. While youngsters will undoubtedly enjoy looking at the pictures of the dogs, the book succeeds only marginally as an alphabet book. Each single letter page contains, in addition to the photo of a dog superimposed on a white background, the focal letter of the alphabet in upper case at the top of the page and usually a single word like "Y a w n" or "Quiet" which is connected to the target letter. Occasionally, a short phrase like "Sit! Stay!" or "Lie down" replaces the single word. The "unique angles" mentioned in the excerpt above refer to the fact that the pups have been photographed with a fish eye lens with the result that some body part, usually the head, is distorted and enlarged in size.

internal art

     Undoubtedly, some children will have difficulties in comprehending the photos' unusual perspectives. As well, the youngsters will not always make connections between what the pups are supposed to be portraying and the letter of the alphabet to which the photo is connected. Numerous examples abound right from the book's opening "Arf! Arf! which to some children will be "bow-wow!" The biggest difficulty resides in the fact that too often static photos are connected to action words such as "Beg," "Come!" "Jump!" and "Wag, wag, wag." The most successful pictures are those very few which are connected to nouns like "Tail" and "Paw." Two of the least effective photos actually face each other and are supposed to represent "Eat" and "Fetch." In both instances, a dog is shown holding something in its mouth. A running dog becomes V's "Vroom! Vroom!" while a sprawled dog is X's "X marks the spot" even though the fourth leg and final arm of the X cannot be seen.

     A closing page, which is labelled "Breeds," identifies the various dogs found throughout the book.

     Most libraries can pass on The Dog From Arf! Arf! to Zzzzzz.

Recommended with Reservations.

Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.