Gundula's Reviews > Good Dog, Carl

Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
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Dec 02, 14

bookshelves: childrens-literature, picture-books, animals-nature, book-reviews
Recommended for: anyone who like wordless picture books
Read from January 26 to 27, 2011, read count: 3

After simply adoring some of the later books in the Carl the Rottweiler series, I have to admit that I was and am a bit underwhelmed by the first book of the series, Good Dog, Carl. I think that in general, it is a sweet (albeit for some parents, perhaps a touch unnerving) story, full of fun, whimsy and mischief. However, neither the story nor the illustrations have managed to completely charm me like I was recently "wowed" by Carl's Summer Vacation and Carl's Snowy Afternoon. The illustrations in both of these later books are truly magical. They are wonderfully bold and really capture the cuteness, fun, and typical characteristics of a Rottweiler, whereas the illustrations in Good Dog, Carl seem (at least to me) a bit bland and washed-out in comparison. They are well-executed, and both humorous and sweet, but lack the whimsy and colourful expressiveness displayed in the illustrations of many of the later Carl the Rottweiler books.

I also tend to find the stories (the plot lines) in the later books a bit more appealing and interesting. That is not to say that I did not truly enjoy "reading" about Carl and Madeleine's escapades in Good Dog, Carl. I have no moral or philosophical problems with the fact that the mother lets the family Rottweiler babysit Madeleine, and it always amazes me that there are actually some unenlightened individuals who not only vehemently despise this picture book, but actually think that it is dangerous and should be censored and even removed from library shelves (one patron at our local library recently left a comment requesting that this supposedly dangerous book be removed). Honestly, this is a fantastical and fun children's picture book, and if any parents think or believe that leaving a baby alone in the care of a dog is correct parenting (and would consider imitating this), they have major pre-existing issues that have not been caused by the book.

However, I guess it is to a certain extent the fantastical elements in Good Dog, Carl that have made me enjoy it rather less than some of the other later Carl the Rottweiler books I have recently read and adored. Many of Carl's and Madeleine's escapades in Carl's Summer Vacation, Carl's Snowy Afternoon and even Carl's Birthday are quite close to reality; they portray actions, interactions, games etc. that children and Rottweilers (or dogs in general) do engage in and often engage in together (sliding down a slide, fetching a baseball, the dog pulling a sled). One of the reasons I love these three books so much was/is because of the nostalgia, seeing illustrations of a Rottweiler that could so easily have been the Rottweiler(s) my family owned when my siblings and I were younger. The story depicted in Good Dog, Carl however, did not create (and does not create) the same sense of nostalgia in me, as none of our Rottweilers would ever have let us swim in a fish tank, nor would they have known how to give us a bath and dry us with a hairdryer.

I would still definitely recommend this charming wordless (or rather, nearly wordless) picture book to anyone who likes dogs (both adults and children). But if you are going to read Good Dog, Carl, you should also take the time to read and enjoy some of the later installments.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Lisa Vegan Great review. I read it so long ago I don't feel I can adequately review it.


Gundula Lisa wrote: "Great review. I read it so long ago I don't feel I can adequately review it."

Thanks, Lisa. I liked the story, but it did not "wow" me. You really can tell that Alexandra Day's illustrations have gotten better and better as the series has progressed.


Gundula Abigail wrote: ""But, if you are going to read the first of the Carl books, you should also take the time to read and enjoy some of the later installments; in my opinion, the series has actually gotten better and ..."

You should definitely try this book, I just liked the later ones better.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) I LOVE this book. It was written by a woman from my home town and based on her own dog. It's an example I tell people when I tell them how gentle Rotties are if raised right. You have to take his babysitting a baby with a grain of salt, obviously.


Gundula Kelly - Maybedog wrote: "I LOVE this book. It was written by a woman from my home town and based on her own dog. It's an example I tell people when I tell them how gentle Rotties are if raised right. You have to take his b..."

I like a lot of the later Carl books better, they really remind me of the Rottweilers we had as kids.


Lisa Vegan I like some of the later books better too. Kelly, that's so interesting that this author-illustrator is from your home town. Yes, I knew the stories were based on a real dog, and that shows, I think.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) Not that interesting. I'm from the Seattle area. :)


Lisa Vegan Kelly - Maybedog wrote: "Not that interesting. I'm from the Seattle area. :)"

:-)

I know but still interesting. I love my San Francisco authors.


Kelly H. (Maybedog) I know, especially when they take place there as well, right?


message 10: by Jan-Maat (new)

Jan-Maat If there are people who want to ban this book from libraries then they should really get a move and get rid of Peter Pan - afterall teh dog there employed as a nursemaid fails to protect the children at all - won't somebody think of the impressionable parents taking misled by JM Barrie into taking on incapable dogs as nursemaids!


Gundula Jan-Maat wrote: "If there are people who want to ban this book from libraries then they should really get a move and get rid of Peter Pan - afterall teh dog there employed as a nursemaid fails to protect the childr..."

Exactly, but it is surprising what types of books certain (often American) individuals want banned. And there are American right-wingers who do want Peter Pan banned (generally not because of the dog, but more because they consider the book pagan and witch-crafty). And then there are the so-called activists who want Peter Pan banned because of the way Native Americans are described.


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