Good Dog, Paw

A philosophy of life is incorporated in this engaging picturebook for very young readers. Paw, the teller of the story, takes us through his day and represents it as a programme of important ritualistic activities. He gives the reader his nose-print, and then describes how he wakes up his owner. She is April, a vet, and her first task is to give Paw a ten-point checkover for health, and so the book becomes a counting book. The illustrations, which have the character of crayon sketches, are varied in size and position, leaving readers free to make their way through or around each page-opening in any way they wish. After the health check, April and Paw go to work and the reader is in a different kind of story, learning about vets and what happens at a veterinary clinic. Paw’s role is to reassure other animals waiting anxiously to see the vet; each emerges with a cure. Work is followed by play in the park, and finally the young reader is taken back to Paw’s home, a repeat of the ten-point health check, and bed-time.

In this simple and unpretentious picturebook, several different kinds of story are combined. It is a counting-book, a world-of-work book, a book celebrating home life and a book about the care of pets. Holding these elements together is the theme of love: Paw is loved by April, April is loved by Paw and the pets that visit the clinic are lovingly cared for by the vet.