Desperately Seeking Fido
Soup du Jour:
Today we look at a “clump” of three books about longing for a dog.
Ingredients (books discussed):
Suggested Side Dishes (related books):
- The Stray Dog (Marc Simont; 2003 Harper Collins)
- The Trouble with Tilly Trumble (Lynn Manuel & Diane Greenseid; 2006 Abrams Books )
- “Let’s Get a PUP!” said Kate (Bob Graham; 2003 Candlewick Press)
- A Very Unusual Dog (Dorothy Joan Harris & Kim LaFave; 2006 Scholastic)
- Hank and Fergus (Susin Nielsen-Fernlund & Louise-Andree Laliberte; 2003 Orca Books)
- The Hound from the Pound (Jessica Swaim & Jill McElmurry; 2007 Candlewick Press)
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Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):
Our first child was a dog — a spunky border collie/black lab named Pepper – and we loved her.
A child and a half later, though, with me eight months pregnant, Mark suddenly “between jobs”, major home renovations underway and an energetic twenty month old to chase after, something had to give and that something, unfortunately, was Pepper.
There were tears all around when we said good-bye to our beloved pooch but our then twenty-month-old daughter rebounded beautifully. And that, we thought, was the end of that.
We thought wrong.
Somewhere around the age of four, this daughter, deprived of a pet she couldn’t remember enjoying, caught a severe and unshakable case of I-Want-A-Dog. The pining and whining, wheeling and dealing became relentless.
Since we couldn’t grant her wish in reality, we chose to grant her wish in books. Luckily, there are many books that deal with the wishing for, pining for, sublimating the desire for and, sometimes even getting, a dog. Today we look at a “clump” of three books that treat us to the thrill of making that dream come true, in various ways, any time we like.
I Want a Dog (Dayal Kaur Khalsa; 1994 Tundra Books) describes the 24×7 yearning of young May who eats, breaths and sleeps her longing for a dog. All that stands between May and the dog she desires is time but May finds the waiting unbearable and devises a steady stream of elaborate schemes to eliminate the wait. What I love about this version of the dog-longing story is that it presents, in generous and humourous detail, both sides of the dog debate and leaves readers young and old feeling understood and with a refreshing taste of a win-win solution.
Amigo ( Byrd Baylor Illustrated by Garth Williams; 1989 Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) presents an original, distracting and wholly satisfying approach to the I-want-a-dog debate. What stands between Fransisco and the dog he desires is the reality of financial hardship. Fransisco eventually chooses to sublimate his dog longing by working to tame a wild (and extremely adorable) prairie dog. The charm of this tale is that — unbeknownst to Fransisco — the prairie dog is also working to tame him! This magical, if unrealistic, story treats us to the giddy thrill of success while momentarily opening up the possibility of dog-free joy.
The Outside Dog (Charlotte Pomerantz Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas; 1995 Harper Collins) recounts the gentle give and take between the hopeful Marisol and her resistant abuelito (grandfather) as a skinny, brown mutt inches his way into their lives. The loving and gradual erosion of the grandfather’s resistance is a reminder that we adults do want our children to be happy while Marisol’s willingness to meet her grandfather half way reminds us that there may be more than one way to solve to the dog-longing debate. This deceptively simple story is hugely satisfying.
Now you have three ways to virtually satisfy that I-Want-A-Dog craving; and not a poop-and-scoop in sight.
Thanks for listening. I’m Andrea Ross from the Just One More Book! Podcast and we’ve been Swimming in Literary Soup.