Introducing Treasure Dog and Treasure Dog Holidays, written and illustrated by F. Doodle. Abecedarian Books, Inc., 2014, 19 pages each, $9.99 paperback. Treasure Dog Takes a Nap, by F. Doodle. Dorrance Publishing Co., 2016, 36 pages, $16.00 paperback. Kindle also available. Grade level: Kindergarten – 6.
For the children in your life who are crazy about dogs, this series of glossy covered paperbacks represent a fun read.
Introducing Treasure tells a story in the voice of a clever pup who describes all of his secret hiding places. The illustrations, in crayon strokes and primary colors, suggest a child’s drawings in their simplicity. Each page reveals the special spots for his bones, which offers nice openings for conversation with toddlers. My favorite is the “hot spot” beach scene which offers room for discovering and naming the beachball, the sand castle, the sand shovel and bucket and the beach umbrella in the picture. I was most confused by the “dead spot” as neither the illustration nor the words held meaning for me, nor could I imagine they would for a toddler or young reader.
The story in Introducing Treasure lacks a transition between the repetitive phrases in each 4-line page and a sudden two line page that says: “A big yard!/Treasure Dog.” I was confused as to whether all Treasure Dog’s previous bone-hiding adventures had been a product of his imagination, or if he had simply returned to his own backyard after his travels. It becomes a bit more confusing when the last two pages introduce Treasure Dog’s search for Golden Girl. I did, however, love the last page of the story, especially the final two lines. But the leap seemed too great. A meaningful transition would help to flesh out this adorable pup’s character and make the ending more satisfying and believable.
Treasure Dog Holidays tells a slightly more complex story of Treasure Dog and his mischievous 5-year-old human friend, Buddy Boy. The reader’s senses are ignited through the pup’s step-by-step plan to enlist the boy as an accomplice to slip him turkey meat. The reader finds lots of giggle space between the lines and in the one-dimensional drawings. The four-line pages need tighter punctuation to help young readers know where the thoughts begin and end. But, overall, the story is heart-warming and will resonate with anyone of any age who delights in their treat-driven pets.
Treasure Dog Takes a Nap is the latest in the series of F. Doodle’s Treasure Dog books and is longer, at 36 pages, with a somewhat more professional looking cover.
Treasure Dog Takes a Nap begins where the second book ends: with the pup dreaming of a turkey leg. This sweet dog is a vivid dreamer who delights the reader with his quirky responses to the household noises that jolt him from his slumber. The pup’s personality comes to life in the repetitive verses that offer fun practice for young readers. And for toddlers, it is a perfect story to read aloud at bedtime or nap time.
Frankly, if I had been writing the story, I’d have chosen not to talk about the squirrel twice. Rather, a new character would have been more interesting. And I would have elaborated a bit more on the pup’s favorite human, Buddy Boy, perhaps even tying together both elements from the second book: a turkey leg and Buddy Boy.
Overall, the illustrations are more crowded with details in comparison to the earlier two books. The more complex illustrations of Treasure Dog Takes a Nap could be fun for the older reader to explore, while the simpler illustrations in the first two books are charming and accessible for toddlers. So the variety is nice.
I found myself drawn into the rhythmic repetition of the half-rhymes and eager to share this book with little ones.
Bravo, Treasure Dog. Keep dreaming!
© F. Doodle and MiMi Zannino
F. Doodle lets his imagination be his guide. F. Doodle is just a big kid. He likes animals, drawing and telling fun stories. As a young boy and through his college years, F. Doodle passed his time drawing people and animals in the margins of his notebooks. Reminiscing about these drawings inspired the characters in the Treasure Dog series.
MiMi Zannino is the author of poetry books for children and adults. She has portrayed the American poet, Emily Dickinson, over 50 times in a one-woman play that she researched and wrote. Since 1989, MiMi has been a teaching artist and poet-in-residence for over 10,000 students through the Maryland State Arts Council. Her recent work with senior citizens includes a one-hour program, “Music and Memory on the Ukulele.” Visit MiMi’s websites at http://mimizannino.com and http://emilydickinsonlive.com.