Reviews /

Be More Dog

Authored by Caroline Crowe
Illustrated by Carlos Vélez
Published by Floris Books

Tagged , , ,

Subtitled A Tail of Happiness the exuberant end papers show just how a dog can inspire a young boy to find happiness. Reading behind the images and between the words, the young boy in this story has no mother at home. He lives with his father and grandmother – and Sam the dog. Every day when his father goes to work the boy feels bereft of happiness, so he decides to follow Sam to see if he can find it. Together they run, jump, play catch the ball and find odd treasures in the park. Even when it rains Sam shows the boy how to find happiness in a muddy puddle. This is Sam’s superpower and his tail never stops wagging.

Caroline Crowe’s simply told story is wittily complemented by Carlos Vélez’s vibrant, energetic artwork. Introducing Sam, the boy tells readers that ‘He doesn’t wear a costume’, with the image of a slightly shamefaced dog sitting on a football shirt with a pair of glasses balancing precariously on his ear. ‘He can’t fly’ shows Sam launching himself into mid-air to try to get to a cooked chicken on the kitchen shelf; ‘And he definitely can’t make himself invisible’ reveals a chewed-up notebook and a guilty dog attempting to hide behind a plant pot. The facial expressions of the dog and the boy tell everything about their relationship and a double page spread towards the end of the book, showing Grandma, Dad, Sam and the boy splashing excitedly in the sea captures the central message of the book – that happiness can be all around you but ‘Sometimes you have to be more dog to find it’. Readers from 3 years upwards will relish the rumbustious antics of Sam the dog and the ways in which he finds happiness.

Selected for Empathy Lab 2024 Collection