Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Great Smelly, Slobbery, Small-Tooth Dog - Margaret Read Macdonald

Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
August House, 2007
32 thick, glossy pages
for: Young kids, fairy tale comparison studies
Endpapers: 12 boxes on each page (24 total). The separations are rope. Each box contains a plant and its "meaning". For example: Hawthorne/hope, Mustard Seed/indifference, Hazel/reconciliation, Sweet Pea/departure. These illustrations are sprinkled around on the pages of the book, so after reading, you could have a see how each accompanies that part of the story. Hmm. Clever idea.

A rich man is saved by a great smelly, slobbery, small-tooth dog and promises to give the dog one of his treasures. It is the rich man's daughter the dog desires, and she dutifully accompanies him off to his home -- which ends up being a spectacular castle. The daughter and the dog become close friends. One day he finds her crying and discovers that she misses her father. Upon the daughter's reconciliation with her father, the dog discovers that she had "the look of love in her eyes" for him, and he tore off his wooly coat and became a handsome prince. Well, I've got to say that I didn't consider him particularly handsome....

..... but I do love the illustrations. They have such a folksly, Scandinavian/Russian look to them. Julie Pachkis is such a wonderful artist. Each illustration is encased with the same rope that makes the squares on the endpaper. What is left in the white space are the words and branches of plants from the endpapers.

The moral of the story: Don't ever forget to be kind. Kindness. Is. Huge. And in the poor princess's case, it changed her life when she didnt goof up.

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