I Will Love You Anyway/How to Be a Dog

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I Will Love You Anyway
Mick and Chloë Inkpen
Hodder Children’s Books
We share a puggish pup’s thoughts directed at his small boy owner in this delicious book from the Inkpen father and daughter team.
Said pup is anything but your ideal dog; he’s a furniture wrecker, thief and inveterate chaser …

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he cannot follow instructions and worst of all, he keeps on running away – with disastrous consequences sometimes.

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But does this pup ever learn? Oh dear no and when he and his boy hear the terrible words, “We cannot cope! He cannot stay!” he takes off once again running and running into the inky black, wet night.
Being lost, out all night and wet

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and scared is no picnic even for our canine hero. It’s fortunate then that a certain small boy happens along at the crucial moment and back they go to share a blissful moment or two.
You might now be thinking that at last this runaway has finally come to his senses but the trouble is, as we hear, “I don’t do words. They make no sense. I jump for joy …”  

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and er …
The spare rhyming text takes the form of the pup’s reportage narrative recording of what he does and what he hears, cleverly conveying the animal’s lack of any real understanding of what is expected of him. An unusual manner of telling for sure but it’s really effective and affecting here.
Chloe Inkpen truly does capture the full gamut of the emotions of both pup and boy in her captivating illustrations. I’d love to show you every single one but you will just have to get your paws on a copy of the book for the whole experience.

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How To Be a Dog
Jo Williamson
Scholastic Children’s Books
A mischievious, tongue-in-cheek guide penned purportedly, by a dog for his fellow canines. It’s full of need to know tips and advice on such topics as choosing the right human, sleeping arrangements,

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how to meet and greet, toilet training …

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getting the best food by whatever means, “To get the best treats, pretend that you have not been fed. If that doesn’t work … you may need to learn some new tricks … “, games to play with your human,

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forging new friendships with neighbours’ dogs and more.
The narrator is a delightful character (even to non dog lovers like me), full of mischief and endearingly portrayed, as are all the other characters – canine and human – we meet. My only wish is that some recognition had been given to the multi-ethnic dog-owning society we live in.
With a restricted colour palette, Jo Williamson has created a highly entertaining and engaging debut book and I look forward to seeing more of her work.

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