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Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald is a standard format picture book that my son and I picked out on our last library visit because we both fell for the illustration of Shoe Dog on the front cover.

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The illustrations are by Katherine Tillotson, and they really make this book, which would otherwise be a fairly run of the mill story about a newly adopted puppy who gets on his owners nerves because he has a passion for eating her shoes.

I have to say that the owner was much more patient than I would be with Shoe Dog after he had worked his way through about a dozen pairs of shoes. The shoes Tillotson draws are almost as appealing as the dog who eats them, and I’d be hard pushed to choose between them. Luckily, the owner makes the right choice, as does the repentant Shoe Dog and all is happily resolved in the end.

Things to love are; firstly the illustrations, which as mentioned above, are epic. The pencil lines of Shoe Dog, always on the move, multiple tails wagging, sum him up beautifully and we loved the mixed media approach with collage and drawing on every page.

Secondly, the story, although not particularly innovative, is beautifully written and very poetic. We particularly loved the repetition of the lines:

‘He raced up the stairs,

ba-doom, ba-doom’

and the way the owner is always ‘she’. It did remind me rather of Rumpole of The Bailey, and ‘she who must be obeyed.’

Thirdly, we loved the last page where Shoe Dog is finally accepted into the family and you get to see his owner’s face at last, because obviously he will stay with her. It was a really sweet and clever touch.

A lovely, simple story and a great picture book to share and read out loud with children. It would be great to read to a class of children, or equally effective as a cosy bed time story to share with your child.

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