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The Other Dog by Madeleine L'Engle - a tiny book review

Publisher's Synopsis: "Reissued in hardcover to coincide with the movie release of A Wrinkle in Time, here is a true tale of dog-meets-baby from Newbery Medal–winning author Madeleine L'Engle! Based on Madeleine L'Engle's own poodle's experience coping with a new baby in the house, this sprightly picture book presents a familiar domestic drama with an utterly charming new twist. Tongue-in-cheek wit, endearing illustrations, and a revealing author's note make this a publishing event to celebrate!"

My Two Cents: Popping it's little head back into publication on the heals of L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time movie hoopla, The Other Dog is a simple and sweet tale of a dog's jealousy when Mom & Dad bring home another dog (aka: baby). Although the book is a exaggerated look at sibling feelings with the addition of a new baby, I think it has a wider appeal. Lots of kids will enjoy doggie Touche L'Engle-Franklin's affronted tone and eventual love for the new family member.


Some quick teaching thoughts:
  • Compare the dog's character traits to humans (anthropomorphisms).
  • Examine the narrator's point of view compared to what the reader knows (it's a baby, not a dog!). 
Note: Third grade standards listed, but can spiral down to 1st & 2nd, of course :-)(CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events / CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.)
  • Examine how the illustrations help the reader know more than the dog.                        (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.)
  • Discuss rivalry and jealousy - vocabulary meanings, as well as feelings
  • As an added bonus, the author includes a true tale of Touche L'Engle-Franklin, which is as interesting as the story itself. This would be a great addition for older students reading A Wrinkle in Time in order to learn a little bit more about the author herself or as a great way-in book to compare writing styles (very different) from the same author. 
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Genre: Picture Book
Age: 4-8
Pages: 48
Themes: Sibling Rivalry, Family, Point of View
Character Development: Love the sassy dog narrator
Plot Engagement: Decent, not super engaging, but sweet and slow win-over of the dog brings a smile
Originality: More just a sweet tale of the author's real dog, not meant to be super out-there like her other works
Believability: The protagonist's voice, along with the true-tale, gives it strong believability
Thank You to Chronicle Books for my lovely copy.
Date: New issue = May 2018
ISBN: 978-1452171890

BUY The Other Dog HERE

Most people know Newbery winning author Madeleine L'Engle from her Time Quintet series that began the fabulous, and one of my all-time favorite novels, A Wrinkle in Time. Please don't ever see the movie before you read that book! In fact, just skip that movie (sorry, Oprah). You can read more about her HERE. She was a fabulous lady!
Teachers can find lots of resources and information for her many books there also.
----------------- That's all folks! -----------------
© 2007-2018 Dr. Cheryl Vanatti, education & reading specialist writing at www.ReadingRumpus.com

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