Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Simple language and fun illustrations
Cons: No real story
The Bottom Line
No real story
But still deceptively fun
Educational




Picture Book Classic

I really have a hard time putting my finger on exactly what works in Go, Dog. Go!  I remember reading this picture book as a kid and liking it.  As an adult, it brings back warm memories.

The thing that surprises me about this book was something I picked up on while reading it to my younger brother.  There is really no plot to it.  Yes, we get a recurring bit with one dog asking another if he likes her hat and near the end there are the dog going somewhere mysterious, but that's hardly enough to sustain the book.

And yet it is entertaining.  The sentences are short and the words used are pretty simple.  This is a "Beginner Book," and I absolutely agree that the language used would be perfect for someone just beginning to read.  We've got such simple concepts as color, location (up or down) and simple activities like work or play.  Even the more complex words like party would be familiar enough to kids that they could figure them out.  And this will help kids expand their vocabulary whether they are reading or just learning new words to say.

Of course, the pictures would certainly help them.  The words are accompanied by appealing cartoon like illustrations that depict exactly what we see on the page, right down to any colors mentioned.  The pictures usually only have two or three colors per page, but they work to get the point across.

And maybe that is the appeal.  The pictures are at least half the fun of the book.  There's enough for kids to study them for a while on their own.  They can be a problem because everyone will easily memorize this book, and kids will be able to use the visual cues to "read" it from memory without actually looking at the words.  Then again, that's the case with other kids' books, and parents still use them to help their kid recognize the words they already know on the page.  And memorized or not, the illustrations combined with the words will help kids expand their vocabulary.

Minimal plot or not, Go, Dog. Go! is a fun picture book that seems to be just as popular today as it was 50 years ago.  You and your kids will love it.

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