Mr. Miller the Dog
Helme Heine ~ Atheneum, 1980
We've been reading so many longer novels nowadays, that our picture booking has slacked off, but over the last week, we've returned with a vengeance. There's even been a Beatrix Potter renaissance at meal times. In keeping with that, we hit a library sale the other morning and sniffed out this strange little German import. A funny tale where a dog and his owner become so much alike that they decide to trade places. If you've ever been to a dog/owner look-a-like contest (and who hasn't!), you'd know that sometimes even furry apples don't fall that far from the tree.
Every morning, when Mr. Miller came home from work, his dog Murphy met him at the door. "Murphy, I'm dog tired. Please bring me my slippers." "Right away," Murphy growled, knowing that he would get nothing to eat until his master had his slippers...... So the days, weeks, months and years went by. Each morning was very like the one before. The two of them had grown so used to each other that Murphy began to look more and more like Mr. Miller, and Mr. Miller began to look more and more like Murphy. Perhaps this happened because they lived together, or perhaps because they envied each other's lives.
Eventually, Murphy suits up and heads to work and Mr. Miller curls up on the floor, falls asleep and all is right with the world. Nutty and eerily bizarre, but heartwarming none-the-less. The delicate lines and gentle washes here remind me of one of my all time favorite illustrators, Sempé (oh please, oh please, oh please will someone go ahead and make Mr. Summer's Story into an animated movie already!?! If you were itching to know what my all time favorite book EVER is, ahem.)
This story makes my son howl, particularly since Miller and Murphy resemble our two goldens a wee bit... unfortunately of late, the boy has taken to impersonating a cat named Pussy Wizzle instead of a dog, but no matter. Person turned animal is good for a laugh regardless the species.