Today’s book review is for Eddie and Dog, by Alison Brown, published by Capstone Young Readers. It is scheduled for release on February 1, 2014. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Eddie and Dog is a beautiful new picture book about a young boy, Eddie, who craves adventure. One day, he find a dog who wants adventure, too. But Eddie’s mom says he can’t keep the dog, because they’re yard is too small and the dog will be unhappy. Yet each time the dog is sent away, he schemes to return to his friend Eddie. This is a story about friendship, adventure, and ingenious solutions.
I fell in love with this book right away. Maybe it was the adorable red-haired main character. Maybe it was his lust for adventure. Maybe it was the determination of Dog. But probably it was just that all of the elements worked together to produce a stand-out picture book.
Brown’s writing is simple. She uses plain, clear language that 3-7 year old children will be able to understand and enjoy. There’s a lot of repetition to her story, which gives kids a chance to predict what will happen next. For those of us who read aloud to children, the sentence constructions make for a pleasant reading experience. The words flow naturally, and pauses are built into the text.
What turns a touching story into something hilarious, are Brown’s illustrations. Because this isn’t your typical sentimental story about a boy and his dog. While Eddie is a fairly typical young boy, Dog is anything but typical. Dog rides a moped. Dog snorkels. Dog sky dives! Eddie and Dog are adventure loving soul mates. The illustration style is great. The characters are all given simple dot eyes and line features–yet they manage to be deeply expressive. You can feel the excitement and longing emanating from the page.
The cherry on top is the book design. The page layouts are masterfully executed. Art is placed on the page to add another layer of pacing to the narrative. Text is also arranged to enhance the sense of pacing and suspense. Font size is increased at times for emphasis. Even the end papers are beautiful, with outlines of modes of transport arranged in a repeating motif.
It’s not often that you start reading and know right away that you’ve got a 5 star book in your hands. But that was the case with this one. I was at once impressed and enchanted. For anyone who knows a child who longs for adventure, loves dogs, or has a special bond with a pet–I highly suggest you get this book. I’ll be putting it on my own list of requests for the local library.
You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.