Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review - Good Rosie!

Good Rosie!
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Harry Bliss
Date: 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: hardcover
Source: library

Beloved storyteller Kate DiCamillo and cartoonist Harry Bliss introduce some delightfully doggy dogs in a warm, funny tale of a timid pup who needs a friend.

Rosie is a good dog and a faithful companion to her owner, George. She likes taking walks with George and looking at the clouds together, but the closest she comes to another dog is when she encounters her reflection in her empty dog bowl, and sometimes that makes Rosie feel lonely. One day George takes Rosie to the dog park, but the park is full of dogs that Rosie doesn't know, which makes her feel lonelier than ever. When big, loud Maurice and small, yippy Fifi bound over and want to play, Rosie's not sure how to respond. Is there a trick to making friends? And if so, can they all figure it out together?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I think is one of the first times I've ever read a picture book that needed a trigger warning. I'm surprised (and appalled) that this is by Kate DiCamillo, one of my favourite children's book authors. While the overall premise isn't terrible (even if it does seem aimed at very young children), there's a horrifying incident in the book that killed my enjoyment of the rest of it. This should never have been published as it is.

What happened, you might ask? At the dog park, Rosie meets a big dog named Maurice. He shows her his bunny toy and how he likes to shake it. But then, the book shows Maurice picking up a tiny dog, Fifi, and doing the same thing to her! I was horrified. Even worse was that Fifi was shown as being no worse for wear, just a little slobbery. I have a Goodreads friend who recently lost her little dog in a similar situation; I would hate for someone who's experienced that kind of loss to inadvertently pick up this book.

People with small dogs will get what I'm talking about. If you've ever experienced the terror of walking your little dog and having a huge, growling dog rush at it, you'll understand the sheer panic that surges through you at such a moment, and all the jumbled accompanying thoughts: Is this dog friendly? Is it going to grab my dog? If I pick up my dog, will it go for me instead? Am I about to witness my best friend getting killed?

No. This book should never have been published the way it is. Maurice's actions are not cute, no matter how much of a big, stupid oaf he is. (Even more disturbing is that the humans at the dog park didn't seem to care much about this incident. In reality, Fifi's owner would've probably rushed in and carted the poor thing off to the vet... because it would've had some sort of injuries after being shaken like a rag doll.)

Good Rosie! is not the title I would've picked. Bad Maurice! would've been more appropriate. Or maybe just Bad Book!

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.33 out of 5

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