Darla’s Dents: Picture Book Read-Alouds That Have Made a Favorable Impression

Dogfish, by Gillian Shields

I am doing a new story time for the childcare center kids I read to this month, entitled “New Books I Want to Share with You”.  While searching for picture books that would inspire me, I found Dogfish, by Gillian Shields.  I started laughing almost from the first page.  The illustrations, by Dan Taylor, are as descriptive as the words themselves.  From the shopping list posted on the fridge (with “a dog” added by the main child character), to the “hypnotizing eyes” of the boy and fish, these comic images will hook (excuse the fishy pun) you right along with the written narrative.  This story tells about a boy who desperately wants a dog. His mother comes up with all the practical reasons this cannot happen, with some ingenious responses from the boy. What I enjoyed was how the author would pause and have us view what “hopeless expressions” look like; for example, and “blissful happiness,” at the end.  Even the pet fish is a fully developed character, complete with expressive facial and body language.  This is a picture book I wish I could share with my own children, although they are both nearly grown.  I may do it, anyway.  I recommend this book to be read aloud to anyone who has a sense of humor and imagination of any kind. In other words, I suggest that kids and grownups of all ages find a way to embrace this book to the fullest!  I know I did, and continue to do so as I more closely examine the illustrations on each page.

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