October 26, 2015
The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have by Edward van de Vendel and illustrated by Anton van Hertbruggen
The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have
by Edward van de Vendel
illustrated by Anton van Hertbruggen
When readers first meet him, Nino doesn’t have a real dog. At least not a dog that is real in the sense that other people can see it. He has an imaginary dog that goes with him wherever he goes — into the lake, into the woods and to visit his great-grandmother. His dog is adventuresome and fun and ready companion, especially when he’s missing his father, a pilot.
But then the dog “he doesn’t have” is replaced by a real dog, the kind that his mother and great-grandma can see. I love the way that the real dog looks a little like the “didn’t have” dog but that this dog is still completely different. He doesn’t chase squirrels. He chases rabbits. He prefers sand to lake water.
Anyone who isn’t a picture book fan, anyone who thinks that these slender books are slight needs to pick this one up. This is a book with substance. I love that without actually saying it, without preaching, this book lets young readers know that what we imagine and what we get are never quite the same but that this is okay.
When I opened the package and pulled out The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have my first thought was “who sent me an old book?” But it didn’t smell old. It didn’t feel old. Yet something about the colors and the art work just give off that “old” vibe. I checked the Library of Congress information in the back of the book and it isn’t old but it is other — published first in Belgium. I don’t know if it is typical of Belgian books but I do know that this is a book you should share with the young reader in your life who has an active imagination or is having problems facing change. Hmm. I think adults who are having problems with change would benefit as well.
Add this book to your classroom shelf, your counseling shelf or your shelf at home.