CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2000
As the subtitle indicates, this book is an alphabet book, a very simple one, in fact, which focuses
on dogs. Each page provides a single letter of the alphabet which is rendered in upper and lower
case and then used as the initial letter in a word which somehow relates to dogs, or at least the
dog or dogs found in the full-colour photograph on the page. Consequently, a scratching dog
illustrates "Ii" for "itchy" and a dozen pups represent "Ll" for "litter." In each pair of illustrated
facing pages, one photograph occupies an entire page while the other smaller one is framed with a
white border. The photos are guaranteed to garner young "reader" interest, especially the "Yy"
puppy which is "yawn"ing or the five entangled pups which are catching some "Z-z-z-z"'s. While
some photos are of static dogs, others catch canines in action, jumping and running. Particularly
effective is "Ww" which freezes a German shepherd in the action of shaking the water off its
"wet" coat. Not all words work equally well in representing their letters, however. For example, a
pre-reading child browsing through the book without an adult would not likely equate the picture
of a dog running along with a ball in its mouth with the word "quick" nor does a photo of another
ball-in-mouth dog immediately evoke the words "Good dog!" (the sole exception to the single
word being used to portray a letter). The entire alphabet in repeated on the closing end papers.
Horenstein utilizes a wide variety of breeds throughout the book, but unfortunately he does not
provide a key which would help parents having difficulty in answering the inevitable question,
"What kind of dog is that?"
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature at the Faculty of Education,
University of Manitoba.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.
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