Some Swell Pup
Maurice Sendak and Matthew Margolis with pictures by Sendak
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976
First off, I'd like to apologize for dropping the ball on Friday, but hey, things happen. Secondly, I have no idea why Maurice Sendak would team up with a dog expert to write this book, but it is nothing short of brilliant. The cover of my paperback edition gives a quote from Job Michael Evans of Dog Fancy that gives some insight -- "Sendak himself is an absolute nut about dogs, and his concern and affection shine forth." Still, if anyone has details on how this odd collaboration came to be, please step into the light my friend.
That said, I feel like if you have a kid, and said kid wants a dog, this book is a MUST READ. It is colorful and hysterical, and at times spooky and far out, but always informative and wickedly truthful. The subtitle is "Or Are You Sure You Want a Dog?" and that pretty much sums up what you're gonna get outta the story before you even crack the cover.
Boy and girl get dog. Boy and girl love dog. Dog begins to crap/bite/chew. Boy and girl get mad at dog. Boy and girl want to take it out on dog. Giant hooded mystery dog arrives to talk some sense into boy and girl. The rest is magic.
The illustrations are (as always) brilliant, and in this case, done in a comic book format that really brings the story to life. If you want your kid to get a vivid picture of what life with dog is like, this book will do the trick. It speaks well to the nature of children, and how that nature and a brand spanking new puppy can often be a fatal mix.
I do read this one to my son, but I also keep it hanging around just for me. The candor and wit crack me up. Or maybe it's just that I have a thing for children's books with drawings of animals defecating. Always a hit with the kids!
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