Old Dog by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
|Old Dog by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but some of the old tricks they know will blow your mind. Grandparents will love reading this tale to their young whippersnappers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
|External links: Author's website|
The Young Pups don't want to go and see Grandpa - all he does is talk about the past, his breath stinks, his false teeth fall out all the time, and he doesn't know how to play all their new games. Their mother reminds them that he's really kind and they visit him after all. When there, they discover that Grandpa wasn't always an old fuddy duddy, and actually there's plenty of excitement lurking under the surface if they just take the trouble to get to know him.
Much like Elmer and Grandpa Eldo by David McKee, Old Dog is a great book for grandparents to get for and/or read with their grandchildren. They might not be able to do circus tricks like the old dog here, but they can pretend and kids can imagine! It can also be a great jumping-off point for kids discovering fascinating stories about their own family. Oral history is a wonderful thing - even if it's just talking about the sort of books they read and toys they played with when little - and children will just lap it up.
But back to Old Dog itself. It's an enjoyable tale, heavy of the humour and silliness, but still with a gentle heart ticking throughout. The writing is playful and engaging, with some nice bits of wordplay that will sow the seeds of just how enjoyable language can be. The plot is as you'd expect - Grandpa has hidden depths - but it all progresses in such an upbeat and fun way that you're happy to go along for the ride.
Tony Ross' illustrations are action-packed, cartoony and great fun. There are plenty of giggles throughout, from Grandpa spitting out his false teeth, to the big reveal of his big circus trick. The pictures help set the jolly atmosphere of the book, and work well in tandem with the text. You don't need to be a grandparent or grandkid to get the most from Old Dog, but it helps. It's well worth a look.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Grandparents and grandkids will also enjoy the aforementioned Elmer and Grandpa Eldo by David McKee, as well as White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicola Davies, Driving Down To Grandma's by Ian Whybrow, That's Not Funny by Adrian Johnson and The Flying Diggers by Ian Whybrow and David Melling. For circus-based fun, look no further than the utterly gorgeous My Circus by Xavier Deneux.
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