Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Little Dog, Lost

Life has been busy lately, so blogging, and writing in general, has taken a temporary back seat. I've also been working  on my Reading Challenge 2012 commitment, so my writing time has been spent reading what others have written. There are just so many hours in a day.

I'm all the way up to the nineties in my book challenge count, so I'm hoping to reach my goal of one hundred books ahead of time. Then I can devote more time to blogging and working on my next novel. Of course, in the middle of trying to finish the one, ideas have begun crowding into my brain for the next one. That can be very distracting, if you're as single-minded as I am.

I have read some very good books lately, though, in my non-productive time. Several of them feature one of my favorite animals, too. I'm speaking of dogs, and even dog-like creatures.

While perusing the choices at my friendly neighborhood library, I discovered Little Dog, Lost, by Marion Dane Bauer, and the title, paired with the charming cover art (by Jennifer A. Bell) was irresistible. I had to bring it home.

I don't recall whether or not I've read any of the many books Ms. Bauer has written, although the odds are good that I have read at least a few because she's been rather prolific and successful as an author. But this one, small book has convinced me that I want to read more of her offerings. It is delightful in every way.

The cover art is adorable and says so much all on its own. A happy scene of a park with blooming flowers and butterflies flitting about. In the background, life is happy with ice cream sharing, dog-walking and bicycle-riding. Even a bakery - who doesn't get a happy fuzzy while gazing at beautifully-decorated cakes?

And in the foreground, a complete contrast to all the sunny happiness, is the most pitiful little dog you'll ever encounter. Everything about him screams out sadness. And the only one with a clue to his misery is a tiny bunny peeking out from the colorful flowers. Are you crying yet? It gets worse once you open the cover.

The book is written in verse, and I think that is a very clever tool the author incorporated, because it serves as a way to encourage reluctant readers to pick it up. The same as graphic novels, the layout of the pages makes it more appealing than pages filled with print. There are also several pages of illustrations sprinkled inside, which earns it additional bonus points to young readers. But the story itself is well worth the short time needed to read it.

The story itself is a bit predictable. As the title tells us, the little dog is lost, but his sorrowful tale begins long before he actually becomes lost in his new neighborhood. He escapes the confines of his yard and can't find his way back. But he isn't the only one lost. The author does a wonderful job of showing us we can be exactly where we've always been, and still be lost. It's a sweet, endearing story of loneliness and longing, and love fulfilled. It works well as a read-alone, but I think it would be lovely as a read-aloud for a class of 3rd thru 6th graders.

I'll be back again - hopefully in a more timely manner than I've managed lately. But I still have several books remaining on my list, and I hope to succeed at NaNoWriMo this year - which I've never managed to complete before.

Happy Reading!



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