March 20, 2015 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog
Counting Dogs by Eric Barclay. Published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic. A StoryBox Book™ with 16, full color pages. Sized 6.5 x 10 inches. ISBN 978-0545783927. Target age range is 3- 5 years old. Publication date: May 26, 2015.
It’s often said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what’s on the inside that counts (no pun intended!). And that is true. So take a good look at all those happy, smiley-faced dogs on the front (and back) cover — because there are nary to be found on the inside.
Why is there so much SAD FACE on the counting dogs inside the book? Does counting make the dogs unhappy? Are the dogs over-worked and tired of counting? I don’t know but the counting dogs’ UNHAPPY facial expressions also make them look UNCOMFORTABLE in nearly every counting situation. The dogs only have HAPPY FACES when they are all together for numbers one and ten.
This results in a MOST unfortunate take-away-lesson that the dogs are uncomfortable around animals that aren’t of their own kind and when they are placed in situations where they aren’t doing typical dog activities — i.e. sitting in a tree with five owls or standing on one leg with eight flamingos. It seems the dogs are not willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. I know that dogs like to do dog things. And I get that a dog sliding down a snowbank with four penguins might not be his idea of a good time. But still. Can’t the dogs at least look like they are having a good time? Do they have to look sad or scared or apprehensive or nervous? Do the dogs have to give off the vibe that they’d rather be anywhere than where they presently are?
Am I reading too much into all the SAD FACE? Maybe. But overall, all the SAD FACE and implied uncomfortable-ness makes for a most unusual, distracting, and not fun reading/counting experience.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.