I think Shirley’s Dogger has been introduced to every foundation stage and KS1 class I’ve ever taught so I was enormously excited to see Dave’s beloved toy dog return in a seasonal sequel. Now considerably older, Dave still takes his favourite soft toy to bed with him every night, although his interest in toys has broadened to all kinds of vehicles.
As Christmas approaches, we share the family’s preparations – writing to Father Christmas, putting up decorations, shopping –
till, come Christmas Eve, the tree is a-glow and the children’s stockings are ready to hang up.
Next morning there’s huge excitement as Dave, Bella and Joe open their presents littering the floor with the wrappings. They also give their own specially chosen gifts to their Mum and Dad before Bella and Mum visit a neighbour, leaving Dad busy with the Christmas dinner ready for the arrival of Granny and Grandpa.
After a wonderful family day, when the visitors have gone and the children are in bed, disaster strikes. Dave wakes to discover that his beloved Dogger is missing. His parents and Bella help him search but of Dogger, there’s no sign.
Next morning and in the days following Dave is totally downcast; he’s sad that he’d neglected his old favourite and not interested in his new toys. Surely Dogger can’t be lost forever? No of course not, for this special toy has not lost his own knack of turning up in the most unlikely of places.
Shirley’s magic shows no sign of waning in this wonderful festive sequel to her original, now classic, picture book. Every spread exudes love and warmth – both in the account of the family, and in Shirley’s illustrations. It’s interesting to see how much Dave, Bella and little Joe appear to have grown.
A must for family sharing this Christmas, and for many to come.