Friday, July 3, 2009


If I wasn't already in love with the pictures in Dogfish, I would have still fallen in love with the story. This has to be one of the cutest stories to be published in the last couple of years. The book, written by Gillian Shields and illustrated by Dan Taylor, is the wonderful story of a young boy who realized just how wonderful a pet can be. Even if it's just a goldfish. 

The full story is about our young narrator who wants a dog. He sees that everyone else has a dog and wants one. Instead he only has a goldfish. And the goldfish can't fetch a stick, go on walks, or play with him. But Mom gives the boy all kinds of reasons why he can't have a dog. The boy is sad, mom is sad, and the goldfish is sad. Until the mom suggests that the boy want what he has. The boy trains his goldfish to catch sticks. He takes him for walks. He plays games with him. And suddenly he realizes just how wonderful it is to have a goldfish for a pet. 

The story is cute and clever. When the mom questions how they would keep a dog, the boy always has a clever response. The author doesn't take the subject to seriously though. I love lines like, "These are our sad looks" showing the sad boy and the sad goldfish. There is sadness and happiness in this absolutely adorable book. Children will be cheering for the boy and the fish. Shields manages to capture the thoughts of a child well. 

The illustrations are rounded, simple, and adorable. Everything in the illustrations is soft and so cute you want to pinch their cheeks. The page spreads are colorful and filled with multiple illustrations. Taylor uses texture to create very tactile images. All the images are digital but Taylor is careful to make sure that we see them as almost hand-drawn. The boy's hair is made with what look like pencil marks that have been digitally created. But it is the roundness of the illustrations that make them so wonderful. Children and adults will absolutely love these pictures. This is Taylor's first book but I hope to see many more. His design work is modern, refreshing, and cute. This is an adorable book that any child would love. 

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