Dunbar, Polly. 2004. DOG BLUE. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763624764. [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K-1]
Written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar, DOG BLUE is the story of a young boy, Bertie, on a quest to find the perfect pet dog. The story and illustrations are simple yet effective in conveying Bertie’s hopes, dreams, disappointments, and ultimately his satisfaction. “Bertie loved blue. He had a blue sweater, a blue dog collar, blue shoes, but no blue dog. What Bertie wanted more than anything in the whole wide world was a dog. A blue dog.” In the remaining pages, the reader watches as Bertie first pretends to have an imaginary blue dog, then pretends that he is a blue dog, before ultimately finding the perfect “blue” dog—a black and white spotted dog named Blue. Using repetition and alliteration (the “b” sound in particular), DOG BLUE makes a great read aloud for younger children. Bertie is an imaginative child with an amazing capacity to solve his own problems creatively.
The illustrations of DOG BLUE match the text perfectly. Both are simple yet charming and in many ways are reminiscent of older illustration styles such as HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON or THE CARROT SEED.
Have the children take turns pretending to be an animal (a pet animal: cat, dog, bird, fish, etc.). Have the other children guess what animal the child is pretending to be.
Have children take turns sharing with the group about a pet s/he has or would like to have. Have children draw pictures of their pets whether real or imagined.
Other books written or illustrated by Polly Dunbar:
Dunbar, Polly. FLYAWAY KATIE. ISBN 0763623660
Ely, Lesley. LOOKING AFTER LOUIS. ISBN 0807547468
Other books about imaginative play:
Chen, Chih-Yuan. ON MY WAY TO BUY EGGS. ISBN 1929132492
Gardiner, Lindsey. HERE COME POPPY AND MAX. ISBN 0316603465
Shannon, David. ALICE THE FAIRY. ISBN 0439490251
By Becky Laney