Odd Dog Out
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Daschunds feature in this story about self-expression: dogs that are, for me at least, somehow inherently odd and humorous. It begins with some stunningly designed pages of dogs acting mostly uniformly. And then introduces a dog who’s ‘dancing to a different beat’. She feels so out of place in her home town that she heads for ‘fabulous DOGGYWOOD’ where, ironically, there’s a ‘hundred others, just like me.’ But there she finds wisdom in the long bodied, short-legged shape of a doggy non-conformist who is proud of standing out from the crowd. Convinced now that ‘there is nothing wrong with being me’, she returns home and begins a new era of proud individuality: ‘Each one a doggy superstar’. If the message is a familiar one (Elmer the Patchwork Elephant), and the simple text with its insistent metre and rhyme is absolutely appropriate, it is Biddulph’s sense of fun, his use of colour, his flair for design, and the detailed precision of the execution of the illustrations that makes the book itself stand out. The play between pattern and variation is cleverly maintained, even in those early pages where at first sight everything looks the same and nothing looks out of place.