A warm and calming book with a simply inspired twist in the tail. This is an ideal bedtime read.
Rosie and her best friend always have a brilliant, fantastic and amazing time together. A little girl and a dog, they like helping out with all the household jobs. They help with the shopping, gardening and tidying the house – until the grown-ups insist they’ve done more than enough. Then they go off to play, splashing in the mud and zipping and zooming around the park with the other children and animals before exploring outer space and the deepest depth of the oceans. When they get scared, they support each other and at the end of the day they love snuggling up together. They really are the very BEST of friends.
As this brief summary suggests, this book is made up of a series of quite everyday events rather than a story with a traditional beginning, middle and end. It will, however, undoubtedly appeal to children who will be able to easily equate with their antics from creeping out of bed when it’s still dark to playing imaginary games. (I particularly loved the picture of their ‘space game’ when girl and tiny dog are kitted out in a cardboard box and upside down bucket respectively as makeshift space suits).
Adults will also be able to identify with the situations, especially when Rosie and her friend are ‘helping’ at home. While the words might indicate that they’re doing a wonderful job the pictures tell a very different story. For example, when they are ‘helping’ with the shopping, the picture shows their purchases falling from a hole in the basket leaving a trail of broken eggs and squashed tomatoes. Similarly, when they are ‘helping’ to tidy up we find a picture of mayhem with dirty footprints all over the floor and walls. I’m sure many parents will be familiar with the need to very firmly tell young helpers that they’ve done more than enough!
Adults readers are also likely to appreciate the incredibly clever twist at the end of the story (indeed, it left me smiling for a long time after putting the book down). However, it’s possible this might go over the heads of children until it is explained. (Sorry, this is such a wonderful twist, I can’t tell you more without spoiling your enjoyment of the book.)
The pictures themselves are simple and stylised but there’s still plenty of detail to interest the child reader and to ensure the book is able to withstand numerous readings. It’s nice to see such a diverse range of characters, particularly in the scene in the park where we have children of almost every skin tone. However, the characters that really steal these scenes are the dogs which, again, seems to include every possible type. I also very much enjoyed spotting the shadows of the mice, and the black cat who appear in many of the scenes set at home.
Overall this is a warm and calming book that’s an ideal bedtime read. (It’s not too long either which may also appeal to busy parents!)
If you enjoyed this and are looking for another picture book aimed at the younger end of the picture book market, why not try Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph.
Date: January 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Website: Ali Pye