Monday, October 07, 2013

Mouse's Corner: The Digging-est Dog by Al Perkins

The Digging-est Dog written by Al Perkins and illustrated by Eric Gurney
Random House, 1967
Fiction (Children's); 72 pgs

A friend loaned Mouse a copy of The Digging-est Dog about a month ago and it is one of the most often read books in our house presently.  So much so, that I bought my daughter a copy so that I could finally return the copy loaned to us by Mouse's friend.

It's a cute story about a dog living in a pet store, lonely as can be.  A farmer takes him in, wanting to give the dog the the life he deserves and place where he can run around and, well, be a dog.  The other dogs in the town come to check the new dog out, only to discover he can't dig.  They turn their backs on him. The farmer and the dog practice and practice, trying to teach the dog how to dig.  When he finally does figure it out, he gets in a heap of trouble by digging up the entire town.

I think I enjoy this book as much as my daughter.  No matter how many times I read the book to her (sometimes back to back to back to back . . . ), she never fails to feel for that poor dog, both when he's sitting on that "cold hard floor" and later when the other dogs ostracize him for not being able to dig.  She cheers for him when he finally is able to dig and then at the end when he is rescued after a little mishap.  It's a story of compassion, friendship, making mistakes and learning from them.  Lessons that I think any child--and adult--can always benefit from.

There is only one part of the story that I don't especially like, but it is realistic--and provides a good opportunity to discuss feelings of anger and how we sometimes lash out at each other.  Mouse is still a little too young to be bothered by this particular scene (it's probably just my issue anyway), but when she's older, I think it will be worthy of discussion.

The artwork does a good job of helping to carry the story along; each image telling a story of its own. Overall, The Digging-est Dog is a household favorite, and one I imagine we will be reading for a long time to come.

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