Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Picture Book: Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs

A trio of children runs up to a lady walking six diverse dogs.   As they enthusiastically reach out to touch them, they are warned to stop, prompting the children to ask if they can pet them.  The owner gives permission for five of the dogs, but warns that the six, Maddie, might bite.  Then, in short rhyming stanzas, the children are instructed in how to approach and to treat dogs.   For instances, she tells them:

Don’t stick your nose in Stella’s face—
until your friends,
she needs her space.

Stand still and let dogs come to you
to smell your hand or sniff your shoe.

But curl your fingers underneath
in case one greets you
with his teeth.

Also, general tips are given in how to offer a treat and where to pet a dog.  Sound advice about shy, jumpy, and irritable dogs is presented.  As the book comes to a close, the dog owner reminds the children:  “Dogs aren’t toys to hug and squeeze or poke or chase or tug or tease.”  As a result, demonstrate good manners to show you care. 

Evaluation:
The fanciful illustrations and fun rhyming text (by Wendy Wahman) make this book appealing while offering practice advice to youngsters.  Don’t Lick the Dog:  Making Friends with Dogs can assist parents and childcare givers in teaching children how to be safe and how to respect dogs.   Children will become more confident and safety-conscious as they approach new dogs or deal with family pets.  I recommend this book for ages 2-5. 

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