Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture That! Picture Book of the Week

I never cease to find inspiration inside the pages of a good picture book. I know I missed making a recommendation last week, but I figure everybody was either out buying incredibly cheap and incredibly worthless items from the endless sea of shopping malls or still too stuffed to bother turning on their computers. But it's time to get back to routine and so I'd like to share one of my personal favorites, a little known fable about a boy and his obsession with dogs.

Leonard: A Fable by Wolf Erlbruch
(Orchard 1995)

Leonard is a little boy who absolutely LOVES dogs. He loves them so much that sometimes he pretends he is one. He barks in the morning. He carries a bone around. Sometimes he even bites onto strangers pant legs.

Leonard loves dogs, but he doesn't have a dog because there's a slight problem...he's also very terrified of dogs, especially their teeth. One night, a fairy comes to visit and grants Leonard one wish. Of course, he wishes to become a dog. This doesn't turn out so well for Leonard as he quickly becomes afraid of little boys.

This humorous fable, translated from German, is one of those perfect light-hearted looks at some serious issues. It's a wonderful story for talking about fears and about wanting to be something you are not. It's also one of those picture books whose tone is perfectly matched in the illustrations. With very sparse text, it is great for younger children, but is entertaining enough for slightly older children too.

(Side Note: This book was given to me by a co-worker ten years ago because I always wore turtlenecks and had Leonard's haircut. I've had an attachment to it ever since. The illustration on top of the post partially inspired the 'Dogboy' nickname for Benji, a character in Perfect World and Dirty Liar.)

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