In this picture book, an unruly dog enjoys total love even though he doesn't behave the way others think a dog should.
Getting right to the heart of the matter, this simply told story relates a young, white child’s stubborn appreciation of the beloved pup even though, as the first-person narrative enumerates, he doesn’t act the way “they” say a dog should. The narrative format is a simple back and forth: on one double-page spread the narrator tells of a dog that others point out as clever, watchful, etc., and on the next tells readers: “My dog’s not like that. He...” and relates what the shaggy brown mutt does. It is a playful and mostly successful idea except for the jarring switch from present tense to past tense for the repeated line, “ ‘Dogs should be like that,’ they said,” which gives an odd and almost ominous tone to the line. Kemp’s collage illustrations in saturated color and bold design go well with the narrative style, but they simply mirror the text rather than offering much in the way of invention or expansion.
Simple and emphatic—both visually and linguistically—this story of a child’s unconditional love for a dog is a nice twist on the more conventional dog’s-unconditional-love-for its-owner storyline. (Picture book. 2-5)