Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Bodyguard: Always by Alison McGhee

Alison McGhee, author of the New York Times best-seller Someday, celebrating the parent-child relationship, has a brand-new, just-off-the-press picture book which centers on that other deep and loyal relationship--child and dog.

The pup in this brief little book should be named Fido, because fidelity is his theme, his goal in life, and his mantra.

I am the keeper of the castle.
This castle .
And I will keep the castle safe.

This small dog has a big heart and thinks he is invincible in his appointed task. The humor in the story arises from the juxtaposition of the pup's grand talk and the reality of his actual deeds.

I will halt the avalanche.
(Read, I'll stem the flow of stuff when everything falls out of the closet.)

I will guard against monsters.
(Read, I will duel with those pesky squirrels on the roof.)

Even grandiose and heroic deeds such as stemming a tsunami or diverting meteors don't daunt this little dog.

"Why? you ask.
"Because you live here."

In Always, McGhee's simple story of doggy devotion and artist Pascal Lamaitre's simple watercolor-wash illustrations combine in a short and sweet tale of the breadth and depth of the loyalty of a dog to his well-guarded human friend, a tale which dog owners will find pleasingly familiar.



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