Written and Illustrated by P.D. Eastman
Random House, 1961
Big dog. Little dog.
The plot in a nutshell: Dogs do all kinds of stuff, culminating in a big party
This classic book was a favorite of mine when I was little. I just really loved the fun cadence of the text and the funny little moments that happen all through it. There’s no real plot here, just a bunch of different types of dogs doing different activities in different places. At the end, they all come together for a party at the top of a tree. There is a repeating bit between a female dog who keeps trying on new hats and a male dog who keeps disliking her hat choices. Eventually, though, she tries on a truly outlandish party hat and that turns out to meet with his approval.
There are so many concepts being taught in this book, it’s hard to know where to start. The book teaches counting, colors, sizes, and the concepts of in and out, up and down, over and under, day and night and the basic rules of stoplights. Even when I hadn’t looked at this book in years, there were still lines I could easily remember, such as the dog on the ferris wheel yelling, “Go around again!”
Author/illustrator P.D. Eastman worked with both Disney and Warner Brothers animation studios, In 1942, he worked for the Signal Corps Film Unit, where he met and collaborated with Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) on orientation and training films. Continuing as a protégé of Dr. Seuss, he published his first picture book, Are You My Mother?, under the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books brand in 1960.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that we may all be different and enjoy different things, but we can still have an awesome time together.