Dream Dog

Overview

Written by a ten-time Emmy Award winner and former head writer for Sesame Street, here's a story that will resonate with every dog-loving child out there. Harry wants wants wants a dog, and, instead of getting one, his parents try to placate him with a pet that's decidedly less interesting—a lizard. So Harry takes matters into his own hands and places his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet on his head, and soon something—with paws! a tail! a wet nose!—pops into the world. Sure, nobody else can see the...

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Overview

Written by a ten-time Emmy Award winner and former head writer for Sesame Street, here's a story that will resonate with every dog-loving child out there. Harry wants wants wants a dog, and, instead of getting one, his parents try to placate him with a pet that's decidedly less interesting—a lizard. So Harry takes matters into his own hands and places his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet on his head, and soon something—with paws! a tail! a wet nose!—pops into the world. Sure, nobody else can see the dog named Waffle, but that doesn't matter to Harry. But what happens when a real dog comes into his life? Catrow's signature loose drawings and Berger's humorous text bring the bond between a boy and his dog exuberantly to life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/02/2013
The familiar premise of the kid who desperately wants a dog gets a big shot of adrenaline from Berger (The Elephant Wish) and Catrow (Dozens of Cousins). Harry’s loving but allergic father seems to rule out any possibility of dog ownership, but Harry has a solution: “He would put on his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet”—it’s an old football helmet festooned with aluminum foil—“and create a dog from deep within his own brain.” The result is Waffle, as big as an Irish wolfhound and made entirely of clouds. Catrow is marvelous in portraying the joy that Harry and Waffle find in each other’s company; the artist’s signature visual exaggerations, usually (and wonderfully) employed in the service of transgressions and gross-out humor, take on remarkable emotional depth. When Dad brings home a real dog, Harry is torn between the pet he’s always wanted (he “could feel its real hot breath, its thick golden fur”) and the fantasy that has given him so much comfort. Berger handles his hero’s struggles with love and loyalty beautifully; there is nothing evanescent about Harry’s attachments. Good boy—and great book. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-04-24
The common developmental stage of imaginary friendship is creatively and charmingly addressed in this bittersweet tale of a boy and his dogs--one real and one pretend (or maybe not). Harry lives alone with his dad. Harry wants a dog, but Dad has allergies. So Harry puts on his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet and conjures up his own perfect pet, a dream dog named Waffle. This new pet is huge and fuzzy, all light blue and white like cumulous clouds, and only Harry can see him. Waffle and Harry become best pals, with Harry's dad playing along with the idea of the imaginary dog--though readers can see Waffle in all his blue-and-white, surprisingly believable glory. When Dad's allergies suddenly improve, he brings home a real dog. A little adjustment of the helmet ensures that new dog Bumper can see Waffle, and Harry takes both dogs to the park. In a stunning conclusion, Waffle chases after fluffy clouds and disappears into the sky, leaving Harry not to mourn (he knows Waffle is happy) but to devote himself to Bumper. An imaginative, humorous text is well-complemented by large-format illustrations in gouache, pencil and ink. The busy illustrations are filled with fanciful details and funny peripheral characters, but Waffle is a captivating star with a real personality all his own. This delightful story waffles irresistibly between reality and fantasy, and young readers will find Waffle the dream dog a tasty treat. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 24, 2013:
"This delightful story waffles irresistibly between reality and fantasy, and young readers will find Waffle the dream dog a tasty treat."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 2, 2013:
"Berger handles his hero’s struggles with love and loyalty beautifully… Good boy—and great book.”

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Harry really wants a dog. But dogs make his father sneeze. So Harry puts on his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet to “create dog from deep within his own brain.” He names his dream creation “Waffle.” They do everything together, from playing to shampooing in the tub. His friend Mathilda insists, of course, that Waffle is not real. Meanwhile, Harry’s dad is fired from the factory that makes him sneeze and finds another job. So he brings home a real live dog for Harry. The new dog cannot see Waffle. How Harry solves this problem makes a clever happy ending. Catrow pictures an ecstatic Harry hugging Waffle, a large blue fuzzy-edged poodle, amid clouds on the cover and onto the end pages. Harry’s stylized world, created with gouache, pencil, and ink, is cluttered with all sorts of stuff. Humor dominates; note the double-page bath scene which shows Harry and Waffle in the tub, along with a sinking tugboat and a shark’s fin. The double-page spreads are filled with action, vignettes, and the finally happy Harry. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
01/01/2014
K-Gr 2—Having a severely allergic father means that Harry's dreams of owning a dog are going nowhere, so he snaps on his X-35 Infra-Rocket Imagination Helmet and produces a furry imaginary friend he names Waffle. The pair is inseparable and, like most imaginary friends, is accepted by the adults and regarded skeptically by playmates. When his dad changes jobs, moving from a pepper factory to one that makes Ping-Pong balls, his allergies disappear, and he buys Harry a live dog, Bumper, as a birthday surprise. When the real dog can't see the imaginary pooch, Harry places him under the helmet for a few minutes and the three friends happily cavort out the door. At the end of their play and the book, the dream dog leaps up into the sky and out of the story while Harry bonds with his new pet. Catrow's signature loose-limbed, full-color gouache, pencil-and-ink art sprawls across the pages with detailed exaggeration. The story includes threads about Harry's father's jobs, the boy's first lizard pet, his friend Mathilda, and many adventures with his dream dog. The length of this tale, the fairly complex plot, and text that meanders leisurely suggests a school-age audience. However, Harry looks and often acts like a preschooler, which could make determining the right audience for the book difficult. Still, libraries looking for stories to help ease older children away from imaginary friends may want to consider this title.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375866555
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 332,706
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

LOU BERGER was the Head Writer of Sesame Street for eleven years. He has received ten Emmy Awards for writing, as well as a playwriting grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His children’s book, The Elephant Wish was called “a stunning lesson in the power of wishes and memory” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. Mr. Berger is also one of the creators of the PBS series Between The Lions, was one of the first writers of Reading Rainbow, and wrote the teleplay and lyrics for Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, a primetime New Year’s special. He lives in Forest Hills, New York.

DAVID CATROW has illustrated more than seventy books for children, including the bestselling Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs by Alan Katz; the New York Times bestseller I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont; Jackhammer Sam by Peter Mandel; Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell; and his own Max Spaniel series. He also created the visual development for the animated feature Horton Hears a Who! Mr. Catrow lives in Ohio. Learn more at catrow.com.

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