Monday 6 May 2013

Dog on Log

Dog on Log by Tania Ingram, illustrated by Kat Chadwick (Omnibus Books)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-86291-964-8
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Cat is coming to stay with dog. Dog and all his friends are preparing for the visit with decorations, balloons and party food. Cat arrives and all goes well until rat steals cat’s cake. Then chaos breaks out.

Dog on Log is reminiscent of Dr Suess books or P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog, Go. The rhyme is almost all pure, the rhythm is perfect - a pleasure to read aloud - and the use of opposites is clever and consistent:

 Big cat asleep.
 Small rat awake.
 Small rat stealing big cat’s cake.

These simple words are fantastic for children who are just beginning to experiment with language, with the meaning and sounds of the words they are using. The sentence structure starts simply and builds up with the action of the story as it heads towards the chaotic atmosphere. This helps to increase the anticipation of events:

 Dog. Frog.
 Frog on dog.
 Frog on log.

The illustrations are as complex and detailed as the text is spare. There is so much to see. Every time I read it I notice something new. There is no mention of a chicken in the text, but she is as large a character as the dog, cat, frog and hog. From the first page where she sits under a tree with her sewing machine sewing strings of bunting she became my favourite character and I followed her actions in the illustrations throughout the book.

There is so much to enjoy in this book. The slapstick humour, the characters which come to life, the fun play on words and the gorgeously entertaining illustrations. The storyline is never sacrificed for the rhyme or vice versa.

Dog on Log has leaped onto my favourite’s shelf and I think will be much loved by young children (4+) and all who read to them.

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