A rhyming text and vibrant illustrations combined with a story about the secret adventures of toys and one boy’s love for his precious and well-loved Stinky-Dog. This has every element children love in picture books.
Louie and his stuffed toy, Stinky-Dog, are inseparable. For as long as Louie can remember, he’s had Stinky-Dog with him to cuddle and that’s why he insists on taking the toy with him the night they go to the amusement park. Together they ride the roller coaster up and down and spin on the carousel round and round. Everything is perfect until Louie accidently leaves Stinky-Dog in the toy shop and goes home without him. Will Louie ever get his precious toy back and will Stinky-Dog want to go home given he’s been off on his own adventure in the amusement park with the toys from the gift shop?
Illustrated with bright and colourful illustrations that will appeal to children, the concept for Stinky-Dog is reminiscent of Shirley Hughes’ classic Dogger. There is a good dose of pathos when Louie discovers Stinky-Dog is lost but I personally enjoyed the twist that, after the initial shock, Stinky-Dog quickly forgets he is lost and thoroughly enjoys his night at the fair with the other toys.
The idea of toys coming to life at night is also a tried and tested tale which will appeal to children and which, in most cases, children (pre-six years old at least) will easily believe. The use of the toys as characters will also ensure they enjoy this book. After all, can you name a child who doesn’t love peering into shop windows and sorting through stuffed toys on stalls to decide which they like best? In fact, I found myself doing just that as I studied the vibrant pictures of the gift shop toys: I still can’t decide between the squishy looking bright red lobster and the wonderful black and white cow who looks like he should be advertising milk chocolate.
The text is written in rhyme which will especially appeal to a cohort of children and which will help all children to join in as they become familiar with the text. This familiarity will be comforting and I think there is a strong probability that Stinky-Dog, will become a favourite story with children for bedtime reading as this is the time of day when the love of a special toy will particularly resonate with them.
If they happen to have lost their own precious and well-loved toy, the fact that Stinky-Dog can be found against all odds may also give them hope that theirs might be too. (Which, in the age of the internet, is at least more likely than it was when I was a child).
If you enjoyed this and would like to read another bright and bold picture book, try the SCBWI Crystal-Kite nominated Bonkers About Beetroot by Cath Jones and Chris Jevons. Alternatively, why not explore the wonderful bright and busy world of Alfredo in It’s a Groovy World, Alfredo! by Sean Taylor and Chris Garbutt.
Publication: June 2018
Publisher: Spidachio Press
Websites: Lynne Russell