By Guest Blogger Alison Farruggio, DVM (Dr. Farruggio is also a member of AVSAB)
Dogs Like Me is a dog care book written by a veterinarian and designed for the earliest readers. It uses simple phrases and large pictures to show children how dogs are “just like me” because they require care that is similar to their own needs. The pictures show how people meet these needs for dogs on one side and then how children fulfill these same needs for themselves on the other side.
The types of needs listed for dogs include a family to take care of them, hair brushing, food and clean water, school, exercise, toys, being safe in cars, having fun, going to the doctor, friends, brushing teeth, baths, stuffed animals to cuddle, a bed, and love. I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of a dog wearing a seatbelt included in this book as that is an important safety guide that many dog owners do not follow. The picture for dogs needing school was of a dog looking at a chalkboard with written commands, which does not capture the idea of dog training for me and may be confusing for children.
A few of the pictures did worry me however. One shows a grade school aged boy leaning over the dog’s head to brush its teeth, another shows a preschool aged girl squatting on the floor right next to the dog and a bowl full of food, and the cover shows two boys hugging a dog. These are all circumstances that could lead to a bite by dogs with certain types of aggression problems. They could have been depicted with different pictures that avoid risky situations, especially since very young children often imitate what they see.
Overall, this is a good book for introducing dog care concepts to pre-literate or early readers with its simple, repetitive phrasing and large pictures depicting young children participating in dog care. The concept of how dogs and children need similar care is easy to understand and is shown in a way that can lead to further discussion about the details of dog care and how it is both similar to and different from children’s needs.
What are your thoughts on this book?