That Dog! by Emma Lazell is an involving read that adults and children will enjoy sharing.
Dognapper, Penny, has a house full of pooches of every size, shape and colour. But when a new dog arrives in town, Penny demands that her sidekick Pat brings her ‘That Dog!. Pat’s attempts to follow Penny’s instructions to snap up a spotty, floppy canine are foiled at every turn, and it is the quick, clever, problem-solving, master-of-disguise dog that eventually wins the day.
This title is Emma Lazell’s second picturebook and it showcases her talent for characterisation. Her gallery of canines is reminiscent of Hairy Maclary’s (Lynley Dodd) doggy friends. Textured line gives us a wide variety of coats: shaggy, wiry, fluffy and smooth. Best of them all is That Dog! with his pointy head and nose and expressive eyes (ringed like a magnifying glass), we can instantly tell that he is an excellent mystery-solving dog.
The story is one that can be re-read with enjoyment as there is plenty to spot in the illustrations each time the story is revisited. Children might like to spot their favourite dog on each spread and seeing them returned to their rightful owners at the end. There will be shared amusement at Pat’s misinterpretation of Penny’s instructions as the children anticipate his mistakes, and there are some verbal puns to keep the adults amused too.
The pages are busy, so this is likely to be best suited to one-to-one or small group sharing for younger children (3-5 years), but it will also be appreciated as a class read with children in infant classes.
The book Big Cat (Emma’s first picturebook) makes a couple of appearances in the illustrations, so if you like this story and haven’t yet read Big Cat, it’s an obvious choice for your next book. This title would compare well with Rob Biddulph’s Dog Gone, which offers an alternative perspective, in which the human is the pet.
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