“Is there a dog in this book?” by Viviane Schwarz


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You might think you have already seen everything from the world of tail tales.  After all, it’s been raining cats and dogs in kid lit for a while. But have you read “Is there a dog in this book?” by Viviane Schwarz? The furry pups and purry felines have never been more entertaining.

Andre, Moonpie and Tiny suspect there is an intruder in their book. A dog. The older cats know of dogs and they are dreading a potential encounter with the yappy, smelly, scary cat hater. They try to find a safe place to hide: behind a sofa, in the piano,  in a suitcase? As the fear of the dog grows in the older cats, so does the curiosity in Tiny. He wants to know what dog is. He wants to pet it. He finds is friendly. Thanks to brave little Tiny, Andre and Moonpie learn that even though they know of some dogs, they haven’t seen all dogs yet. Some dogs are soft, friendly and they love cats. But wait a minute… Where is that dog now? 

Next to bright, humorous illustrations, pages filled with inventive flaps, the book is written in the breaking the fourth wall format, to fully engage the reader in this hysterical hide-and-seek.

But it’s not only the humor that strikes me in this story. It’s more about what a serious message this amusing tale conveys. Andre and Moonpie show us so clearly that it is not always true that the older we grow the wiser we get. Our experiences often lead us to bias, bitterness and various prejudices. As a result we can’t see things with Tiny’s innocence and genuine curiosity. But perhaps we should try? Perhaps every now and then we should try to look at the world the way children do? They clearly have lots of fun exploring and gathering their own, positive, experiences. They can even teach us something new.

The other day, my three-year old taught me for example that if I dropped my IPhone into the bathtub filled with water, it would still work…  I thought otherwise but he proved me wrong. Yeah, I know, that’s not the lesson I had in mind…;-)

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