THE DOG THAT NINO DIDN'T HAVE by Edward van de Vendel

THE DOG THAT NINO DIDN'T HAVE

by ; illustrated by ; translated by
Age Range: 6 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Nino and his imaginary dog are inseparable companions—until a tangible pet comes along.

“Nino had a dog that he didn’t have,” van de Vendel writes. A dog that chases squirrels and jumps into Nino’s great-grandma’s lap, listens to phone calls from a faraway parent, and licks up saltwater tears. The illustrations depict a rumpled-looking lad roaming through a blended setting of pine woodlands, muddy yards, and rustic interiors hung with mementoes of far-off places with a dog visible as an unfilled outline. A glance at them will quickly clue in children who might be confused by the narrative conceit. But the diaphanous dog disappears one day when another dog arrives: it’s “soft. And sweet. And obedient. And naughty. And small. And everyone can see it.” This dog is afraid of Great-Grandma and can’t listen on the phone. But it’s all good, because Nino suddenly realizes that along with the much-loved dog that he does have, he can still have one, or many, that he doesn’t—and other creatures too, from a make-believe bear to a “not-hippopotamus.” Still, even surrounded by his selectively invisible menagerie, he remains a solitary figure, and his grave, lonely expression lends a poignant undertone to closing scenes of daytime play and nighttime dreaming.

A sensitive reminder that imagination can provide comfort, though not in unlimited quantity. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5451-3
Page count: 34pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2015




MORE BY EDWARD VAN DE VENDEL

ChildrenTHE CHEER-UP BIRD by Edward van de Vendel
by Edward van de Vendel
ChildrenFOR YOU AND NO ONE ELSE by Edward van de Vendel
by Edward van de Vendel

MORE BY LAURA WATKINSON

ChildrenTHE CALL OF THE SWAMP by Davide Cali
by Davide Cali
ChildrenTHE LIFE AND TIMES OF MARTIN LUTHER by Meike  Roth-Beck
by Meike Roth-Beck
ChildrenROGER IS GOING FISHING by Koen Van Biesen
by Koen Van Biesen

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenDREAM DOG by Lou Berger
by Lou Berger
ChildrenWE FORGOT BROCK! by Carter Goodrich
by Carter Goodrich
ChildrenTHE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE by Dan Santat
by Dan Santat