Friday, 17 July 2015

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th July 2015 - "How to Be a Dog" by Jo Williamson (Scholastic)

One of the toughest parts of reviewing children's books for this blog is choosing our Book of the Week winners every week. Sometimes we agonise for ages over several books, often (as is the case today) we just cannot divide our loyalties between two books so have more than one. The crux of this is that we're so passionate about really good children's books that we don't want you to miss, it feels like sometimes we'll just explode with the effort of getting this across in the limited space we have available.

Take "How to Be a Dog" by new author / illustrator Jo Williamson. I say "New author and illustrator" because this is Jo's first book, and it's an absolute stunner for many reasons.

Think of it as a 'how to' manual for dogs, written cheekily from the perspective of your pooch with lots of timely advice, hints and tips on how to succeed in both the doggy and human world.

Jo - I'm guessing - is very much a dog person. Jo's insights into dog behaviour in this book are so piquantly observed, so razor sharp and so hootingly funny that we both ended up laughing out loud in several places (I may have tweeted earlier in the month about a particular page that nearly EVERY WOMAN ON THE PLANET will utter an indignant 'humph' about - but made me cackle with glee, because it HAPPENS SO OFTEN! No spoilers sweeties, but you'll know the one I mean when you pick up a copy of this!)

There are so many delightful scenes in the book (dogs behaving like dogs do, sprawling all over your bed and leaving you the tiniest smidge of room on the mattress, dogs passionately pursuing food and doing fantastic impressions of "Oliver", plaintively whimpering for more food even though you just fed them ten seconds ago).

Children will love Jo's easy on the eye illustration style and her characterful writing style. We see an awful lot of books about dogs lately (hey, what on earth happened to cats? Have they fallen out of favour?) but this is just an utter joy. Jo has a bright and sparkling career ahead of her if this is an example of just how blimmin' fantastic her books are.

Charlotte's best bit: The super secret embarrasing lady / dog behaviour page we can't spoil for you (but will make you cackle or groan inwardly!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: Big dogs, little dogs, naughty dogs, well behaved dogs - all from a dog's perspective. This is a hilarious and beautifully observed slice of canine chaos. Well done Jo, we LOVE it!

How to Be a Dog

Written and Illustrated by Jo Williamson

Published by Scholastic

Release Date: 2nd July 2015

(Kindly sent to us for review by Scholastic)