IF MY DAD WERE A DOG by Annabel Tellis


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5
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Though the invisible young narrator seems to enjoy fantasizing that his father is a dog, adult readers may find the premise somewhat nightmarish. What father wants his kid commanding him to sit and stay? And who, especially, wants to envision his child cleaning up his “daddy-doos” (shown here as an inelegant orange swirl)? Occasionally clunky sing-song rhymes detail further how this imagined role-reversal might play out: “I might let him borrow my polka-dot dish / and I’d give him a mint / when his breath smells of fish.” (Later, Dad lifts his leg and pees on a sunflower.) “Dad” is actually a chocolate lab, photographed William Wegman–style, but accessorized with various (hand-drawn) canine fashions and pasted into simple backdrops in bold primary colors with thick black outlines reminiscent of Todd Parr’s work. While the child’s attitude toward his new dog-father is generally affectionate, the gleeful emphasis on commands (revenge!) and excrement (just kind of gross) diminish the story’s appeal. But kids may love it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-439-91387-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2007