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Volume VIII Number 1 . . . . September 7, 2001
Have you seen dogs?
Oppenheim, author of Have You Seen Birds? and Have You Seen Bugs? turns her poetic talents to man's best friend, the dog. Oppenheim explores dogs not by breed but rather by characteristics, and she initially begins with the senses and asks readers to "touch" the textures of their coats and to "see" their varied colours. She then turns to "hearing" dogs in terms of their howls and growls plus the sounds they make while wolfing down their food. Oppenheim then switches to the various different physical characteristics of dogs such as their various types of snouts, ears, and tails. Having dealt with adult dogs, Oppenheim switches to pups, wild dogs and various types of working and helping dogs, such as huskies, seeing eye and sheep dogs. The book's five concluding pages are used to answer the questions:
of all the dogs,
which one is best?
What dog of all dogs
outshines the rest?
And the answer, of course is "a pet dog," the mutt or purebred that shares the reader's home.
Gardos' realistic and dynamic illustrations, rendered in coloured pencil, gouache, and watercolour, truly capture the variety of dogs suggested by Oppenheim's text. However, young readers/listeners are inevitably going to ask, "What kind of dog is that?" Consequently, a useful addition would have been a key to the various breeds of dogs shown on each pair of facing pages.
Preschoolers plus early readers will be entranced by this wonderful visual and poetic introduction to dogs that only overlooks canines' smell, especially when wet.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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