Thursday, 11 July 2013
Eddie and Dog
Everybody loves a book which features their very own name and the Fellow Reviewers are no exception. As their names are straightforward enough to be shared by both Royalty and the Archers' troublesome Grundy brothers I'm glad to say they've always had a few titles to choose from.
'Eddie and Dog' is the first book written and illustrated by Alison Brown and it's a cracking addition to our shelf of name books. Eddie ("He's like me! But with different hair," says my Eddie with pinpoint accuracy.) lives by an airport and dreams of adventure. Loitering by the baggage carousel one day he meets fellow free spirit, Dog and the two form an immediate bond. Eddie's mother is less certain that there is room for a dog in their lives and sets about trying to find him a more suitable home. But however far she takes him, dog is determined to return to Eddie. Can Eddie and dog find a way to be together forever?
There are shades of' 'Lassie' here (if Lassie knew how to scuba dive and was a dab hand with a pair of topiary scissors). Eddie and dog are soulmates who Must Not Be Parted. The illustrations are warm and expressive, with just the right amount of inscrutability for the slightly mysterious dog. But this is more than a story about the value of pet ownership. It provides a gentle reminder to parents that our children are individuals who will make their own independent, and sometimes not altogether convenient, choices.
For all of us can expect 'dogs' brought into our lives when we have children and we all must learn the art of compromise to live with unexpected visitors. The author Alison Brown was good enough to respond to my musings on this theme:
"The working title for Eddie and Dog was "The Arrival", and it could apply to many kinds of new or unexpected happenings, both pets and babies being among them!
I'm a mum of two...we don't have a dog - yet - but I think that's likely to change quite soon!
The idea for Eddie and Dog really did come to me in an airport. My family live in Northern Ireland so I pass through airports quite often. On one trip, I was watching the people in the arrivals hall, and I thought it was funny how everyone stood so silently and expectantly focused on that little hatch where the luggage comes out. I wondered what it would be like if something truly exciting appeared.
We all naturally sit somewhere on the spectrum between adventurousness and practicality. I wouldn't call myself adventurous, but I'm quite optimistic, and believe that when something unexpected happens, things usually work out in the end!"
Some of the 'dogs' in our house have been things; the 20 or so muddy sticks for instance that must litter the ground floor at all times and will always find their way home no matter how often I try to repatriate them outside. Or those Very Important Constructions made from cereal boxes and toilet rolls and a lot of sellotape that must be preserved unchanged for eternity. But my Eddie has mainly put me on a very similar journey to Eddie-in-the-book's mum in trying to learn to embrace those of his enthusiasms I don't altogether share.
Buses for instance. Buses in fact very specifically at the moment. Eddie has been learning every bus route in London and also has ambitions to travel on them all. Any journey with him involves a complex negotiation of exactly how many different routes we can incorporate and exactly how far out of my way I am prepared to travel with him for the sheer JOY of it. The spectrum between 'adventurousness and practicality' has never been so charged as when faced with a pair of eyes pleading with you to go on 5 different buses from Cockfosters to Elephant and Castle.
But just like Eddie-in-the-book's mum, I find if I can take the time and make the leap of faith and compromise, there are rewards to be had. This face of rapture mainly.
Please do stop by the other blog tour participants for other great Summer picture books.
Disclosure: We received our copy of 'Eddie and Dog' by kindness of the publisher. Our words and opinions are our own.