I know this is pretty much a stretch – but I really wanted to share these two picturebooks that highlight pets and dogs and young girls and forever homes. Having a pet, after all, is like being transported to funtasia and fantasia. So there you go.
I Want A Dog (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written and Illustrated by Jon Agee
Published by Dial Books (2019)
ISBN: 0525555463 (ISBN13: 9780525555469) Borrowed from Singapore NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
This is a tongue-in-cheek picturebook about a young girl who went to an animal shelter with the clearest intention of getting a dog.
This man, however, is the epitome of everything wrong in our male-centric society. He keeps redefining the girl’s wishes, extending it to something else entirely, like a used car salesman intent on manipulating, deceiving, sweet-talking (uhm.. mansplaining much?) this young girl – who (good for her) is having none of it.
I like how decisive and crystal clear the girl is – and how she has pointedly called out the man’s nonsense to his face in a forthright, self-assured manner. While I would have preferred a different ending, I thought that this was a good primer for negotiation, communication skills and the importance of saying no, and standing up for one’s wishes and intentions.
Stormy: A Story About Finding A Forever Home (Amazon | Book Depository)
Written and Illustrated by Guojing
Published by Schwartz & Wade (2019)
ISBN: 1524771767 (ISBN13: 9781524771768) Borrowed from Singapore NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
This was a story that positively disarmed me. While I have never personally had the privilege of having a canine companion, Guojing’s story (dedicated to her lost pet) has made me seriously reconsider having one – maybe in the distant future.
Told in luminous panels and stunning wordless art, the reader sees how the young lady gradually won over this scared, shy, stormy sweetheart with a ball, an extended hand, her constant presence.
The story is an ode to the fragility of new friendships, the near-blind trust of a helpless creature, and the privilege of warmth, shelter, and companionship built on affinity and hope.
If you are not familiar with Guojing’s art yet – do yourself a favour and find her books immediately. This will definitely make one of my top reads this year – and it’s only the first quarter of the year.
#ReadIntl2020 Update: 5 of 30 (country): China (Guojing is originally from China)