Do you love dogs? Well then, you’ll love Dogs by Emily Gravett. A paean to canines, this warm, enthusiastic picture book is just right for animal lovers. Big dogs, short dogs, small dogs and every sort of dog in between is celebrated in text and, even more so, in gorgeous illustrations. The tone and subject make the small surprise at the end even funnier because the reader doesn’t see it coming.
The text is short and to the point, listing different dog types, such as dogs that play or dogs that are fast. The author thankfully did not give in to the temptation to turn it into a rhyming text, for which I thank her. Rhyming picture books have their place, but this was not one of them. Instead we get simple, clean sentences, generally one per double page spread.
What really makes this book stand out, however, are the illustrations. These are dogs just as I know them, each with his or her own personality. From the bulldog thrilled to chew on a stick, to the basset hound content to plod along while the greyhounds rush past in an enthusiastic pack, I recognize these dogs. I love Gravett’s style, done with pencils and watercolors on a plain, cream-colored background.. The colors are subdued, mostly the browns, blacks, and tans that are found on the average dog. But that does not mean that the illustrations are grim or washed out. On the contrary, the dogs seem to almost glow with life and color.