When my children were little, our daily walk to the shops would take us by a small playground. Sometimes we stopped for a play but other days, when dinner was pressing or my baby needed a sleep, we didn’t. Regardless, my son would sit in the pram and pump his little legs with excitement when the playground came into view. And then, if we passed it by, he would lean out and strain to see it for as long as he could. I was reminded of this when I discovered a beautiful little story about a friendly dog and his love of the local park.
A Dog Day by author and illustrator, Emily Rand, tells the story of a day in the life of a friendly terrier. All this dog wants is to go to the park, hang out with his canine buddies and play with a ball. The story begins much like my trips to the shops –
“We’re off on a walk, hi there, hello!
The park’s my favourite place to go!”
But the dog’s owner has other ideas. Visits to shops (lots of boring shops), chats with people in the street, sitting at a cafe – it all saps valuable park time and the dog becomes increasingly fretful but remains patient. And we all know that patience is rewarded, right?!
The story is told in a simple rhyme from the perspective of the dog – it’s not overworked and is restricted to just a line each page –
“The park is there behind that fence,
so why sit here? It makes no sense!”
A Dog Day is Rand’s first picture book for children. Her pen and ink drawings are breathtaking, somehow both simple and filled with charming detail all at the same time. Illustrated purely in black and white, your eye is drawn to the multitude of textures and patterns – the terrier’s curly fur, the owner’s tweed coat, pavement bricks and lush grass. It is in fact the pure simplicity of this book that makes it stand-out in the sea of brightly-coloured picture books crowding the shelves. I’m quite certain that it will be on my list of Best Books, come the end of the year.
A Dog Day is suitable for children aged two years and over (and will be appreciated by any child that has had to wait for grown-ups!). Find it online at Book Depository, with free delivery to Australia.