Book Review: The Doghouse
By Jan Thomas
Bein’ scared. Is it a part of childhood? Absolutely. A list of some things that I was afraid of as a youngster:
1) Deep water
3) Mean dogs
Jan Thomas, on a roll with the recent “A Birthday for Cow!” and “What Will Fat Cat Sit On?“, addresses my third fear with success in “The Doghouse”. Funny while maintaining an underlying truth (the unknown can be scary), “Doghouse” will be a great addition to your story time repertoire.
As with previous books by this author, the storyline is uncluttered. Beginning on the endpapers, we discover that Cow, playing a game with Mouse, Duck, and Pig,Â has accidentally kicked a red rubber ball into the doghouse. It’s a scary place and there aren’t any volunteers eager to retrieve it. Mouse, the smart alec, begins nominating others for the job. Tension builds as one by one, they accept the challenge. One by one, they enter the doghouse. One by one, they don’t come back. Dog finally appears, scaring the daylights out of mouse. The reader soon finds out, however, that Dog’s intentions are good – the animals aren’t coming out because he is having them stay for dinner.
The digital illustrations of “Doghouse” are tailor made for sharing with a group. Thomas employs bold color and some of the fattest outlines I’ve seen in a picture book to make the characters stand out. In fact,Â when reading this bookÂ individually it can feel at timesÂ like you’re in too close.
While the plot may strike some readers as familiar, the execution is where hay is made. Entertaining through and through, “The Doghouse” will be eagerly snatched up by young readers.
Also reviewed by A Year of Reading.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: *Best New Books*, Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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