SPARE DOG PARTS by Alison Hughes


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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In this Canadian import, a little girl speculates on the origins of her beloved pet dog, an endearing mutt with an unusual, mismatched configuration of body parts.

The unnamed girl narrates the concise story about her female dog, which also remains unnamed. Both dog and child are appealing characters in the watercolor-and-ink illustrations, and it’s refreshing to have two female protagonists and the little girl shown as a dark-skinned child with dark, curly hair. While the text clearly states that the dog was fashioned elsewhere by unknown creators, the illustrations show the girl creating the dog herself, attaching legs, paws, ears, and tail to a patched body. This disparity between text and illustrations leads to confusion, along with several other discrepancies that mar the overall effort. In one spread, the girl is in a shop that has dog parts for sale at a discount, pointing with a worried look at a sign that states “Brains 50%,” but the corresponding text states that her dog already knows enough. The conclusion says that the dog’s tail wags endlessly, but young readers will have noticed that the tail isn’t wagging on previous or subsequent pages. And though the dog is pieced together from spare parts and glue, she is clearly alive. This story might spark some discussion, but it’s likely to be in the form of questions trying to resolve logical issues and the incompatibility between text and illustrations.

An unfortunate misalliance of story and illustrations. (Picture book. 3-6) 

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0704-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015


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