Sunday, June 08, 2014

Will o' the Wisp Pooch: Dream Dog by Lou Berger

Henry's father loved him very much, so one day he brought home a pet he hoped would make his son happy.

A lizard that changed colors.

Not every boy has a chameleon--a very unusual pet.

But chameleons don't do much. They tend by their very natures to blend into their surroundings. And they don't play.

Henry longs for a dog, but his dad is fiercely allergic to dogs, he says, and a reptile has no fur to make him sneeze.

So Henry puts on his X-35 InfraRocket Imagination Helmet and dreams up a dog...

A dog that looked like all the dreams Henry ever dreamed.

He names his dream dog Waffles, and they do all the things Henry wants to do with his dog--Hide 'n' Seek, dream nighttime dreams snuggling in Henry's bed, chasing through the park.

But Henry's friend Matilda is more impressed with his Lizard Galileo.

"That's not a real dog, Henry," she observes. "I can't see him."

But Henry can, and even his father politely pretends that he can see Waffles, too!

But fate steps in, and a job change brings a sudden improvement in Dad's sneezy nose. And soon there's a new pet, a very visible one, a bouncy little dog named Bumper, in Lou Berger's sweet story of a boy and the dog he's always wanted, Dream Dog (Schwartz & Wade, 2013). Henry is torn between his wispy but loyal creation, and his father's gift of the flesh and blood dog he first wanted. With easy grace Waffles leaps into the sky and is off to bring dog dreams of another child, in David Catrow's irrepressible and wispy comic illustrations in his inimitable action-packed style. Publishers Weeky says "The artist’s signature visual exaggerations, usually (and wonderfully) employed in the service of transgressions and gross-out humor, take on remarkable emotional depth."

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