Thursday 12 October 2023

I Want a Dog

I Want a Dog by Jon Agee (Scallywag Press) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN978195252104

This picture book should raise mirth in its readers who are likely to be aged 3+ years. A little girl in a yellow dress goes with her wagon to Happydale Animal Shelter with the intention of buying a dog. However, her request is constantly thwarted by the shelter’s owner, a tall man in a suit and tie who offers her a wide variety of unusual pets, from an adorable armadillo to an awesome anteater.

Despite the wide range of pets available, the girl always has the same answer to what she's offered: ‘No!’ She’s after a dog or nothing else. Still the man persists. ‘How about this frog?’ he asks, ‘It can hide a bone, and it barks at passing cars, just like a dog.’ Once again, the girl rejects it. 

Eventually the man comes out of the doorway and exclaims, ‘Here is the dog!’ to which the girl replies, ‘Mister, this is not a dog. This is lizard dressed up as a dog.’ More animals are offered – an albatross, a kangaroo, a wombat.

Finally, the girl asks if the man even has a dog. No, he says, then he asks what’s so special about a dog? ‘A dog is loyal, loving, smart, cuddly, goofy, courageous, and is the best friend you could have in the world,' the girl replies. She is about to leave the shelter when the man proclaims he has something which it sounds exactly like what the girl has described. When he brings out a twenty-pound seal, the girl must take it. Or leave empty-handed.

Young readers will surely laugh at the ludicrous answers the man gives to the child, as well as the animals he offers in lieu of a dog. When the story ends, the girl is seen dragging her wagon behind her with her chosen pet.

The illustrations in this picture book are cartoonish with large images using deadpan colours. All in all the book is entertaining and engaging.

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