Title: The Sailor DogThe Sailor Dog
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Pages: 24
Reading Level: Read-Aloud
Star Rating: ★★★

“Goodnight moon.” With that darling phrase, Margaret Wise Brown rocked the world of children’s literature. Her board book of the same title became a children’s classic, and now no read-aloud library is complete without it.

[Insert the moment where I realize that I don’t own Goodnight Moon…]

But that’s not all Margaret Wise Brown wrote. She wrote Pussy Willow which I reviewed a year and a half ago. And now, there’s this book – The Sailor Dog. In it, Scuppers the Sailor Dog mans his own ship, steering at the helm and throwing out the anchor as he navigates across the sea. But when his ship is wrecked, will Scuppers be able to repair it and strike back out across the ocean?

The idea behind the book is darling. And the illustrations – done by the talented Garth Williams of Little House on the Prairie – are spectacular. The apparel of the foreign dogs is especially adorable. But the writing itself was disjointed. It almost feels like a first draft – as though Ms. Brown wrote it, then said “Oh, this is good enough.”

Which, it probably is for children; they’re more likely to be looking at the pictures than listening for a cohesive plot. But the lack of cohesion disturbed me as reader.

Conclusion. Not so cute as Goodnight Moon, but still bound to be enjoyed by adventurous listeners.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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