by Shirley Hughes
Prentice-Hall, 1977, 32 pages
There are a lot of beautifully drawn children's books, but not nearly as many that tell a beautiful, impacting story.
Dogger (also published under the title Dave and Dog) is the story of a little boy and his favorite stuffed animal, Dogger. The two are inseparable, so when Dogger goes missing, little Dave is very sad. Even his big sister Bella's generous loan of one of her stuffed animals does little to cheer Dave up. The next day, when Dave discovers Dogger on a sales table at the neighborhood fair, the race is on - Dave needs to find and tell his parents before somebody buys Dogger!
Though the author uses only a simple selection of words, she does manage to pack some punch, so the text along with her expressive pictures will have readers of any age engaged and empathetic - when Dave and his parents arrive too late and they see Dogger in the arms of a little girl who is already walking away, it get almost too tense!
Fortunately little Dave has a big sister, Bella. Her quick action and generosity save the day, and while I won't tell you exactly how (I've already said too much) I will mention Bella is a big sister worth imitating. There is a definite moral to this story, and it will not be lost on our little ones.
In 1977 Dogger won Britain's highest prize for children's illustrated books, the Kate Greenaway Medal, and then in 2007, for the 50th anniversary of this prize, it was selected as the favourite Kate Greenaway Medal winning book of all time.There are almost a thousand words in this book, so it is not for the very young, but any preschooler, on up to a first and even second grader who is content to sit still for ten minutes to read stories with mom or dad will find this an engaging story. And it makes a very good gift to buy first children who are adjusting to a new arrival in the family (one reviewer on Amazon.com had already bought 15 copies of this book and given them away to friends expecting second children).