A delightful story about the importance of living in harmony with others and accepting them whatever their colour, creed, likes or dislikes.
This is the story of one little dog who doesn’t fit in. All the other dogs play rock music. But the music of our little dog doesn’t sound like theirs. In fact, he discovers his music is much more like the Jazz music played by the cats. There’s just one problem. He’s not allowed to make music with the cats and everyone is shocked when he borrows cat instruments and cat music books. Our little dog is forced to practise cat jazz alone. The music feels right to him but he wishes that cats and dogs could play together. When he decides to enter the cat jazz contest it looks like the tension between the cats and dogs is going to erupt but something rather surprising happens.
This is yet another delightful story from Marie Voigt which can be enjoyed on more than one level. The youngest of readers are likely to accept this as straight forward story about following your dreams. Older readers, and adults, however, will be able to appreciate the deeper themes about the importance of living in harmony with others and accepting them whatever their colour, creed, likes or dislikes.
While the story is well written – with a clear beginning, middle and end – it is the pictures that really make this book stand out. The illustrations are universally appealing and deeply atmospheric, in a style that is reminiscent of David Litchfield. There is an impressive use of darks and lights and some truly wonderful characterisation of both the dogs and cats. I also loved all the tiny details, such as the fish bone earrings worn by the cat drummer.
I have only one slight niggle with these impressive pictures and this is, possibly, more of a production issue. The black text on a white background is clear and easy to read but, on a large number of pages, black text is used against a coloured, often dark, background. On these pages the text tends to melt into the background and this has the potential to create challenges for some readers. I assume the publisher thought that white words would break the mood. However, it is a little disappointing that a book with a strong message about the importance of inclusivity is not quite as inclusive as it could be.
If you enjoyed the story, you might like to try one of Marie Voigt’s other books. I particularly liked Red in the City. Alternatively, it if is the dark atmospheric pictures that appeal the most, you might like to try either The Light in the Night by Marie Voigt or Space Tortoise by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield.
Date: September 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Websites: Marie Voigt