If Dogs Run Free

Overview

Music icon Bob Dylan and acclaimed illustrator Scott Campbell team up in this delightful interpretation of Dylan’s 1970 song, “If Dogs Run Free”!

If dogs run free,
Why not we?

In this quirky, spirited interpretation of Bob Dylan’s 1970 song, “If Dogs Run Free,” illustrator Scott Campbell brings Dylan’s lyrics to life as a celebration of the freedom and creativity of ...

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Overview

Music icon Bob Dylan and acclaimed illustrator Scott Campbell team up in this delightful interpretation of Dylan’s 1970 song, “If Dogs Run Free”!

If dogs run free,
Why not we?

In this quirky, spirited interpretation of Bob Dylan’s 1970 song, “If Dogs Run Free,” illustrator Scott Campbell brings Dylan’s lyrics to life as a celebration of the freedom and creativity of childhood. Children of all ages will delight in the message, “Just do your thing!”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“If Dogs Run Free,” from the 1970 album New Morning, is Dylan’s version of a novelty song: a goof on a ’50s-style mashup of piano jazz and spoken word (“If dogs run free, then what must be/ Must be, and that is all./ True love can make a blade of grass/ Stand up straight and tall”). It inspires the talented Campbell (East Dragon, West Dragon) to create a benevolent, retro-ish watercolor universe of cross-species friendships and endlessly fun things to do, with a wide-eyed and inexhaustible girl, her younger brother, and their pet dog as ringleaders. When Dylan muses, “If dogs run free, why not me/ Across the swamp of time?” Campbell offers an aquatic orchestra of sorts, as the main characters are joined by a host of frogs, waterfowl, turtles, and dogs, all floating on logs, lily pads, and a cooperative crocodile while they sing and play musical instruments. But despite the succession of lively scenes Campbell paints, without Dylan’s ironic, gravelly delivery and the knowing accompaniment, the text comes off as opaque. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
November 2013 School Library Journal
"This illustrated version of a lesser-known Bob Dylan song focuses on the joys of a carefree childhood. A girl and her younger brother wander through their day, have adventures on the playground, make mischief at a swamp, and gaze at the night sky. Along the way, more and more dogs join their play...sweet, simple concept...humorous watercolor illustrations."
Kirkus Reviews
The lyrics to a 1970 Dylan song serve as the text for this quirky ode to children and dogs running free, doing their own thing. Through his appealing watercolor illustrations, Campbell has done a fine job creating a coherent, imaginative story from Dylan's poetic lyrics. A little girl who serves as the narrator leaves the house with her younger brother and their dog for a day of adventure. They run off to an imaginary world with a huge park filled with dozens of dogs, skip across lily pads in a pond filled with animals playing instruments, and fly up into the sky, "blowin' in the wind" via bouquets of balloons. Dylan's sophisticated phrases might be difficult for literal-minded children, causing them to struggle with the meaning of a "tapestry of rhyme" or "the cosmic sea." But taken as a whole, the slightly mystifying text and the bouncy, happy kids and dogs sliding through space and time meld together into a satisfying tale, with undeniably cute canines and children running free and enjoying life, on their own like rolling stones. Dylan is known as the poet laureate of rock music, but will his whimsical, metaphorical lyrics capture a child's attention? As another Dylan song recommends, "Don't think twice, it's all right." (Picture book. 3-6)
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Digging into the archives of folk/rock/jazz/blues/country songwriter and award-winning performer Bob Dylan, Scott Campbell has found lyrics that have certain childhood appeal. The very idea of running free like any animal opens up a world of playfulness, exercise, games, and imagination to the young audience. Double-page spreads with only one or two lines of text make this title ideal for reading aloud to a child or a group. Each turn of the page fairly bounces with the antics of children and dogs, frolicking together. Round faces, round eyes, and open mouths offer models for the aspiring artist to emulate; the more active child will find inspiration for jumping and running, and the musically-inclined youngster will be encouraged to find a flute or tuba, or xylophone and chime in with the impromptu symphony. In addition to activity and creativity, the rhymes offer vocabulary in context and introduce the meaning of such words as "symphony," "tapestry," and others. Any child with a four-legged pet will find this title amusing, while those less fortunate, at least for the duration of the read, can pretend. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
PreS-Gr 1—This illustrated version of a lesser-known Bob Dylan song focuses on the joys of a carefree childhood. A girl and her younger brother wander through their day, have adventures on the playground, make mischief at a swamp, and gaze at the night sky. Along the way, more and more dogs join their play. The sweet, simple concept falls short, though, with peculiar lyrics that may not resonate with young readers. The humorous watercolor illustrations, while full of detail, are marred slightly by the characters' stylized expressions.—Laura Stanfield, Campbell County Public Library, Ft. Thomas, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451648799
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 637,622
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.26 (w) x 11.18 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Dylan is one of the most celebrated songwriter and performer of all time. He has released thirty-five studio albums with hits ranging from “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Like a Rolling Stone” to “All Along the Watchtower,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and “Make You Feel My Love.” He has been awarded the French Legion of Honor, a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. His memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list.

Scott Campbell’s paintings have appeared in numerous shows and publications around the world. He has created award-winning comics, such as “Igloo Head and Tree Head,” which appeared in the Flight anthology, and is the illustrator of Zombie in Love and Zombie in Love 2 + 1 by Kelly DiPucchio; East Dragon, West Dragon by Robyn Eversole; and If Dogs Run Free by Bob Dylan. Scott lives in New York City. Visit him at PyramidCar.com.

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