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A hodgepodge roundup of celebrity canines.
This is a rather meager offering from Spinelli, nor has Valério's artwork much character, though it is decidedly high spirited and gay. Readers are engaged very briefly about whether or not they have a dog—"Do you have a dog?... Does a dog have you?"—but the meat and potatoes of the book are dogs of the famous. And by far the most interesting material is found in the end papers, where Spinelli has introduced the 11 historical figures with their dogs. It is the pages in between that are often less than beguiling. "Iggy—who kept Byrd warm, / a comfort in Antarctic storm. / Through blizzard, ice, and wild weather / the two holed up, good friends together." And of Agatha Christie's dog Peter, readers learn, "He on the rug and she in the chair— / they made a rather cozy pair." The poems are too bland for these couples, who should have set off some sparks of clever allusion or strange factoid. As the poems are quatrains—plus introductory and closing refrain—you really have to use all the few words you've got, and here Spinelli doesn't.
Despite inherently child-friendly subject matter, a nonstarter. (Informational picture book. 4-8)
Do YOU have a dog?
Meriwether Lewis had a dog, Seaman — a "fellow explorer" who put up with beavers ... mosquitoes too. He swam across rivers, trekked through snow, and saved Lewis and Clark from a buffalo! Meriwether Lewis had a dog.
Annie Oakley had a dog — Dave. And, oh, what a thrill were his tricks on the road with Buffalo Bill. Of all the performers in the show "Wild West," Annie and Dave, they say, were the best. Annie Oakley had a dog.
Admiral Richard Byrd had a dog — Iggy — who kept Byrd warm, a comfort in Antarctic storm. Through blizzard, ice, and wild weather the two holed up, good friends together. Admiral Richard Byrd had a dog.
Billie Holiday had a dog who sat backstage as he was told. A dog named Mister — good as gold. He seemed a rapt, contented thing whenever he heard Billie sing. Billie Holiday had a dog.
Empress Josephine Bonaparte had a dog — a pug, sometimes a go-between delivering notes from Josephine tucked under his collar so none could see what she had written secretly. Josephine Bonaparte had a dog.
Agatha Christie had a dog. He sat with her in her writing nook and inspired a character for her book. He on the rug and she in the chair — they made a rather cozy pair. Agatha Christie had a dog.
Jackson Pollock had a dog. A gift to Pollock and his wife, the poodle shared their country life, romping out and clomping in with paint on paws and mud on chin. Jackson Pollock had a dog.
Excerpted from DO YOU HAVE A DOG? by Eileen Spinelli Copyright © 2011 by Eileen Spinelli. Excerpted by permission of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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