Black Dogby Levi Pinfold
When a huge black dog appears outside the Hope family home, each member of the household sees it and hides. Only Small, the youngest Hope, has the courage to face the black dog, who might not be as frightening as everyone else thinks.
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I love the cover. It is mysterious and intriguing, with it's soft, hazy hues and old-style charm that makes you want to walk right into the scene and find out what this book is all about. Levi Pinfold's illustrations are eerie and gothic feeling. They are very detailed with subtle, muted colours. The style is similar to Brett Helquist's illustrations in Lemony Snicket's " A series of Unfortunate Events." The rich paintings adorn each page and you are invited in to have a peek at the old fashioned style of the Hope family's house - copper kettles, brass door knockers etc. that ooze warmth and coziness and say welcome to our home. The Hope family has a HUGE problem. One day Mrs. Hope looks outside and spies a big black dog the size of a tiger....she is terribly frightened. As each family member glances through the window, the size of the dog escalates, as does their fears towards the potentially menacing beast outside their door. Small, the tiniest member of the family calls them all "sillies" and ventures outside to put their fears to rest. The size comparison between the little girl and the huge dog evokes doubt in the readers mind as to whether her approaching this canine is really a good idea. But confident and fear-free, Small is determined to show her family that the black dog is not there to harm them and that their worries and anxieties are irrational and unnecessary. Black Dog proves to be not one of their worst nightmares but a tribute to what can transpire when you face your fears, cast them aside and finally conquer them. Small Hope certainly proves to be the bravest member of her family , "Golly you ARE big!" she says to him with child-like wonder and respect. "What are you doing here guffin?" Small teases the dog as she walks across the snowy ground encouraging him to follow her! "You can't follow where I go, /unless you shrink, or don't you know?" The monstrous, humungous Black Dog does follow her and in so doing shrinks, and shrinks, and shrinks to normal size. This modern day fairy tale is a visual treat. It is about fear and overcoming that fear. If you have a child that is afraid of monsters or things that go bump in the night then this is the perfect story to share with him/her. I loved the fact that the smallest, most insignificant member of the family had the courage and power to overcome and overturn this huge, scary problem that was presented to their family. Quite a David and Goliath tale. I loved everything about the book.
Breathtaking illustrations. Wonderful storyline.