100 Dogs is a picturebook which lists 100 types of dogs, showing breeds and personalities in an entertaining and humorous way. The book written and illustrated by Michael Whaite, has proved controversial with some dog owners, but we won’t go into that here as it distracts from a genuinely original publication.
I have read 100 Dogs to children across the primary years, to dog fans and those wary of dogs. All have immediately fallen in love with the book and wanted to choose and share their favourite dog. One 7-year-old boy was trying not to giggle as he told me ‘sniffing at a botty dog’ was, funnily enough, his favourite.
As a read-aloud text, it is impossible not to read it in a rhythmic, playful manner, but I did have to stop myself from speeding up with excitement. I also had an interesting discussion with children about how to use the layout and the rhymes to help you read it.
As with any successful picturebook, the illustrations work together with the text. The use of background colours holds the whole text together. The different expressions in the eyes of each dog is a delight, and the reader is positioned at dog level with only human legs or hands visible.
This is a perfect read-aloud text for children aged 5 – 9 years. It reinforces rhythm and rhyme beautifully and can be used as an opportunity for children to develop their oracy skills as they explain their choices. Children could create a backstory for each dog and, if you really want to, you could talk about adjectives.
100 Dogs is a picturebook which I will keep in my collection of classic, never-fail to entertain, books.
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