Books We Heart - Dog Days May 20 2015 2 Comments

For this month's edition of Books We Heart, I thought that I would call upon one of the most dedicated dog owners I know.  Madeleine Kendall is a talented photographer, sewist, and mom to two beautiful little girls and one handsome (four legged) boy.  Rarely will you see her without her greyhound, Dave, and he is usually sporting some seriously stylish doggie couture designed and crafted by Madeleine herself.   I have been adding dog books to our home library lately upon request from my own littlest doglover, Penelope, and thought that if there was a person to call upon for recommending books about dogs (or books for dogs), Madeleine would certainly be that person.  

Dog Days - Books about and for dogs
By Madeleine Kendall 

 

I credit my paternal grandmother, Diana, with both my love of animals and books.  My grandmother was a brilliant woman who had a thirst for knowledge. While undertaking my degree, I frequently joked that I had no use for a University library card because she owned every book ever published. 

1930’s Diana with her dog Belinda

My grandmother’s love of books and animals connected.  Her maine coon cat, who I shared my childhood with, was named Tom – after none other than Beatrix Potter’s famous Tom Kitten.

I have been asked to contribute a blog post about dog books.  For those of you who don’t know me, this request was made because I am totally and utterly in love with my greyhound.  Kiowa Kay Dave is a retired greyhound.  He spent the first few years of his life racing in Florida.

Screen Shot of Dave winning a race!

Dave has taken to retirement very well and we love to spoil and indulge him – he is, quite possibly, the best dressed dog in town.

My girls suggested that Dave help us out with the photos for this post. He happily obliged.

 

Madeline’s Rescue – Ludwig Bemelmans

The Madeline books are like old friends to me.  The opening paragraphs of these stories are imprinted in my mind. ..

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

 

Madeline is a lovable and cheeky protagonist; her lively spirit and sense of fun have always appealed to me.  I have read the books to our daughters since they were tiny and they also love Madeline.

Madeline’s Rescue is the story of the day that Madeline “slipped and fell” from a bridge in Paris.

A dog jumps into the water and saves Madeline.  The 12 little girls take the dog “so brave” home with them.

They never wanted her to leave
And they called her Genevieve
The dog loves biscuits, bones and meal.
They sat around and watched her eat.

 

The musical rhyme and stunning illustrations make the Madeline books a pleasure to read and to listen to.

Only One Woof – James Herriot

Having spent my childhood in England, it is only right that James Herriot books loom large in our collection.  Only One Woof follows the story of an unusual border collie, Gyp, who is a silent herder.  Gyp and his litter mate, Sweep, have a special connection.  They are separated when Sweep goes to live at a neighbouring farm.  The two are reunited and Gyp’s response always delights my girls – the silent dog finally woofs.  That one big loud woof of delight is the only one in this delightful character’s life. 

 

Dog Loves Books and Dog Loves Drawing are recent additions to our collection. 

Dog Loves Books – he loves books so much that he opens a bookstore.  When things don’t go quite as planned in the first few days of opening his store, Dog escapes to the wonderful and varied worlds that exist within his books.  In Dog Loves Drawing, Dog is sent a blank book and he starts drawing.  Dog draws a door into his book – he passes through the door and draws a companion who comes to life; then they draw their way through an adventure.  This charming story encourages readers to suspend disbelief and enjoy imagination. My girls ran to their art tables and started drawing as soon as we finished the last page.  What adventure would you draw?

Hernando Fandango The Great Dancing Dog – Rachel Swirles

The story begins

He’s clever, adventurous, courageous, and mighty,
(and ever so handy for storing a nightie),
Hernando Fandango, pajama-case dog,
Is the very best friend of Miss Adelaide Mogg.

 

Adelaide Mogg is the daughter of ballroom dancers.  She and Hernando Fandango dance together every day.  When the Moggs enter a televised dance competition, a disastrous crash between couples occurs – Adelaide and Hernando step in and save the day.  They foxtrot, waltz and rumba their way to become stars of the show.

Harry the Dirty Dog – Gene Zion

We own many Harry books, but Harry the Dirty Dog is our favourite.  Despite the fact that Harry was first published in 1956, these stories did not feature in my childhood - I did not encounter them until 2011.  The illustrations are timeless and complement the story beautifully. When our first daughter started speaking, she asked us to read Harry to her every day.  Harry was the book she knew by heart.  She would finish our sentences when we paused and listened intently every time we read to her.

Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except… taking a bath.

One day Harry runs away from home to avoid being given a bath.  Harry visits places that any dog about town might enjoy but returns home when his stomach begins to rumble. He gets so dirty on his adventure that his family don’t recognize him when he returns. He jumps through hoops to entertain the family and finally encourages them to bathe him.  The family are delighted when they realize that the black dog with white spots is, in fact, their white dog with black spots.

 

Doggie in the Window – Elaine Arsenault

This book is not in our collection but was lent to us by Mary Anne.  It is a thoroughly enjoyable book about a little dog with big dreams and a talent for sewing. Doggie, who lives at a pet shop, desperately wants to be Mademoiselle Madeleine’s companion.  Madeleine is a costume maker - she hurries past the pet shop every morning en route to work.  Doggie uses his imagination to capture the eye and heart of Mademoiselle Madeleine.