I’d never heard of this book or author until fils aîné was given it for his birthday, although Louise Yates won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for her second book, Dog Loves Books, which was also nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal – both pretty good recommendations.
Anyway, Dog loves books as you might have guessed. But one day he receives a parcel from his Aunt Dora. It’s a book, but it has no words and no pictures. The note says:
To my dearest Dog,
May the lines you draw open a door to some wonderful adventures.
With love from your Aunt Dora
And indeed they do. The rest of the book is filled with doodles, drawings, pencils, brushes and pens. Dog draws a cast of colourful characters who join in with drawing more and more, and they draw themselves from place to place until the duck draws a monster, “and that spoiled everything”. Fortunately, Dog’s quick thinking, and drawing, saves the day. He has discovered a new passion and has to rush out to buy more paper to make a thank you card for Aunt Dora for this wonderful gift.
The illustrations are simple but appealing, with vivid colours and a great sense of movement. There’s some good word play too, just at the right level for early readers. At times, the characters seem to burst out of the book, as when the monster chases them onto the next page, and this sort of slightly meta joke seems to go down very well with 6-year-old imaginations as well.
Fils aîné is very taken with the book and has decided that the duck is clearly a wrong ‘un – he has a shifty expression just before he draws the monster. Together with Alan Ahlberg’s The Pencil (more on which another time), they have inspired a new genre of writing for him – FA brought something very much on these lines home from school the other day – and he chose Dog Loves Drawing for his favourite book in the school World Book Day cover design competition. Quite an accolade!
- Kate Greenaway medal 2013 shortlist – in pictures (guardian.co.uk)