Book Review: The Other Dog by Madeleine L’Engle

Reviewed for Just Imagine by Caroline Ash.

A delightful, dog’s-eye-view on how it feels when your owners decide it’s time for a ‘new dog’ and they arrive home holding the baby.

This beautiful, large, hard-backed book is perfect as a read-aloud and it begs to be shared. The loose, watercolour and ink illustrations perfectly bring to life the family poodle, ‘Touché L’Engle – Franklin’, with his range of faces and poses that any dog owner will relish in recognising.  

The story begins with Touché questioning why his mistress needed to bring home a ‘new dog’ when he more than adequately fills the role of family pet with his ‘beauty, wit and charm’. We see Touché become disheartened as the baby appears to get preferential treatment – a pram to keep it dry during walks and it gets fed ‘several times a day’.

A heart-warming bond gradually begins to grow between the pair as they begin to interact and learn to make to the best of life together. I loved this nostalgic and sentimental story that reminded me not only of my childhood bond with our family dog, but also of the books I enjoyed as a child of the 70s.

This tale of sibling rivalry would be superb for an assembly or class of primary age children and to prompt conversations about how it can feel to have to share when someone else invades your world. It’s also perfect for anyone who loves dogs and a gorgeous book that will leave them with a warm glow and a grin.

 

Caroline Ash is Deputy Head Teacher at Horton Grange Primary School, Northumberland