Growing up, I don’t remember often being bored or finding myself with nothing to do because I discovered the joy of reading very young. When you can go to tea with Benjamin Bunny or go on adventures with dragons, you don’t really need much else. Except for a snack or four, of course.
I bought Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates (published by Red Fox) because I liked the sound of it and it held a promise of our two top loves – a dog and the possibility of a pile of books. I did not look for reviews of any sort. I was wonderfully surprised upon reading it.
The story is about a little dog who opens a bookshop. He plans a grand opening but nobody wants to drop in to buy or read a book. The dog feels a bit lonely and upset. He decides to sit down and read to make himself feel better. He reads and reads and reads. He reads books about dinosaurs and aliens and everything between. He goes on adventures to faraway lands and times long gone by. He no longer feels lonely because his bookshop is filled with fantastical creatures from the pages of his books.
One day, a little girl comes to the shop and wants to buy a book. The dog is very excited and knows exactly what books to show her because he has read them all. The book ends with ‘the Dog loves books but most of all, he loves to share them!’
The illustrations are old fashioned, delicate and water colour inspired. Is it my favourite part of the book? No. Is it pretty and contributes to visual value to the lovely story? Yes.
The best part of discovering one’s love for reading is in sharing that love. A ‘reader’ takes her job very seriously. Ask one of them for a ‘book to read over the summer’ and you will come back with a list of 10 books to read, 20 to burn and 5 that you HAVE to have on your bookshelf. Readers are a tribe given to rhetoric and passionate exaggeration when it comes to defending their favourite books. They are also very generous as long as you don’t ‘forget’ to return borrowed books or dog ear them.
I am looking forward to having impassioned wars with this little boy when he grows up about what books we think are great and what we think are terrible. For now, we will settle for a cuddle and read of a sweet book about falling involve with books.