by Roy Blount Jr.
Photographs by Valerie Shaff
Today at the public library while looking for something on the shelf of dog books, I pulled one out at random, glanced at the cover and handed it to my four-year-old to keep her busy and quiet for a moment. It looked like it had lots of photos. Moments later she was tugging at my sleeve: "Mommy, read this book to me!" So we brought it home and read it together at bedtime.
I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap is full of beautiful and winsome photographs of dogs (mostly puppies), each one accompanied by a little poem written from the dogs' point of view. Most are humorous or cute, some more reflective and thoughtful. I have to say the quality of the photos far excelled the writing, which seemed aimed towards young readers. Still, that made it easy for my daughter to enjoy and understand them. She loved all the pictures and hearing what "the doggies had to say." Then she'd ask me questions about each one and make up her own little backstory about them. My favorite poem was alongside an image of a dog on a beach leaping into the water exuberantly:
When I'm beside
The seaside I'm outside
Enough to get all of
My inside out.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 112 pages, 2000