Reading is for the dogs.
Reading to your child is important. I knew this even before I was a daddy. When we were expecting I imagined reading various books to my daughter, but never realized it would begin while she was a baby. Reading, I thought, was a little kid thing. Turns out it’s a as-soon-as-the-baby-is-born thing. We’ve been reading to our illiterate daughter for months. And she now has a favorite book, The DOG book.
The DOG book, as described by the back cover, is “a delightfully doggy novelty book, with tabs to pull and fluffy bits to stroke!” The back cover also warns that this book is “not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts.” And perhaps lack of reading acuity. My daughter is only 11 months and she repeatedly grabs at the moving parts within the book. Something a 37-month old child wouldn’t do. She successfully tore off the itchy dog’s leg. It was later reapplied but now the itchy dog can no longer scratch, scratch, scratch.
There is a good variety of dogs; terriers, poodles, pointers, retrievers, mutts, and pugs. The dogs are photoshopped together on a sparse white page like a canine iPod ad. They are surrounded by trees and other foliage. I’m no botanist. I’m not even a subscriber to High Times or a patient at a Californian ‘medicinal’ clinic. But some of the foliage looks suspiciously like marijuana. There’s even a bulldog that looks particularly baked, his eyes are bloodshot and droopy, more so than usual for his breed.
My daughter has a word for dog it’s “buh-buh.” When she sees this book that’s what she exclaims with arms outstretched. No matter her mood, no matter the time of day she will always stop to read this book. It calms her down. She gets a pleasant contented look on her face as it is read to her. It’s quite sweet.
The writing of the DOG books is rather juvenile and goes for the cheap rhyme instead of challenging the reader. It’s Shakespeare written at a Dan Brown level. Here’s a sampling of the iambic pentameter that I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of times:
Good dog, bad dog, neat dog, sloppy.
Silky dog, shaggy dog, soft ears floppy.
The plot is only noteworthy for its twist ending. You don’t see it coming during the first read, though after the second or third it becomes obvious. It’s a twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan. Early M. Night Shyamalan. Not Lady in the Water Shyamalan. Not The Village Shyamalan. This is a Sixth Sense Shyamalan twist. I don’t want to spoil it here, in case you have the book and are planning on reading it to your child. But if you’re willing to read on I’ll let you know.
At the end of the book, hidden beneath a flap, there is a cat. Yes, I know. A cat in a dog book. My daughter always enjoys the ending. When the cat is revealed she playfully paws at the page. “What’s a cat doing in a dog book,” she must think to herself.
Probably trying to steal their stash.