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DO YOU HAVE A DOG? by Eileen Spinelli


by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Geraldo Valério

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5387-5
Publisher: Eerdmans

A hodgepodge roundup of celebrity canines.

This is a rather meager offering from Spinelli, nor has Valério’s artwork much character, though it is decidedly high spirited and gay. Readers are engaged very briefly about whether or not they have a dog—“Do you have a dog?... Does a dog have you?”—but the meat and potatoes of the book are dogs of the famous. And by far the most interesting material is found in the end papers, where Spinelli has introduced the 11 historical figures with their dogs. It is the pages in between that are often less than beguiling. “Iggy—who kept Byrd warm, / a comfort in Antarctic storm. / Through blizzard, ice, and wild weather / the two holed up, good friends together.” And of Agatha Christie’s dog Peter, readers learn, “He on the rug and she in the chair— / they made a rather cozy pair.” The poems are too bland for these couples, who should have set off some sparks of clever allusion or strange factoid. As the poems are quatrains—plus introductory and closing refrain—you really have to use all the few words you’ve got, and here Spinelli doesn't.

Despite inherently child-friendly subject matter, a nonstarter. (Informational picture book. 4-8)