#ReadIntl2020 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Otherworldly Realms - Fantasia Picture Books Reading Themes

Pets As Portals to Fantasia And Forever Homes in 2019 Picturebooks

"I Want A Dog" by Jon Agee | "Stormy" by Guojing.

Myra here.

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)

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “Pets As Portals to Fantasia And Forever Homes in 2019 Picturebooks

  1. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Pets as Portals to Fantasia in 2019 Picturebooks (Part 2) – Gathering Books

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