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Black Dog

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,795 ratings  ·  375 reviews
An enormous black dog and a very tiny little girl star in this offbeat tale about confronting one’s fears.

When a huge black dog appears outside the Hope family home, each member of the household sees it and hides. Only Small, the youngest Hope, has the courage to face the black dog, who might not be as frightening as everyone else thinks.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Templar (first published November 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,795 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
What shone here for me were the unique and lush illustrations, both the large and colorful ones and the miniature gray tone ones. I love their intricacies and their style. Just lovely and fun to view. The pictures make the book, and they’re worth the read.

The story and its message about fear and lack thereof/facing fear is okay. Actually, I’d recommend this mostly to dog lovers, many of all ages who might find this book humorous, although I suppose it could make for a good read or gift for anyon
The illustrations are wonderful, a very talented artist. The dog in this story is beautifully observed and the ramshackle gothic house was imaginatively depicted.

Everyone is scared of a massive dog outside the house. The tiniest child goes out to befriend the beast. As this is a book aimed at small children I wasn't sure this was an altogether good message, there's a massive dog that everyone is scared of so you could be seen as a hero to go and make friends with it? However much you love dogs s
Richard Cardenas
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this one to my sister and cousin as well and this one was my favorite! The illustrations were amazing and the detailing just made this so much more better. The story was so cute and funny. I will need to own this one too for sure. I was putting on his British-Harry Potter Dobby voice while reading this and my sister loved it so much she made me read the book 3 more times to her. :)
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a gift for a friend's 5-year-old child and I stepped into this little gem.

Black dog is a delicate, lovely story about facing fears and about friendship.
The little ones will adore it and its marvelous, evocative illustrations, while the big ones will feel their heart warming.

Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good tale about how confronting your fears can make them seem smaller, and more manageable.

The author's illustrations outshine the story here.


Karen A.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Four stars for the illustrations. Which are a fantastic mix of Grimm, Bosch, and American Gothic. They really set the mood and make the fear of the big black dog seem very real. Only three stars for the story. It is also fun and I like that Small is the one to go out and face the big dog. But her little song and the subsequent shrinking of the dog did not quite make sense. Being a silly story juxataposed against such beautifully atmospheric illustrations may be the point - but it felt like the a ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: K-3rd
Wonderful story about how fear can cause something to grow out of proportion and about confronting fears. The name of the heroine, Small Hope, is a little obvious but works nonetheless.

So much to explore, so many details, in the illustrations from the small panels on each of the two-page spreads to the large color illustration (except for when Small first meets the Black Dog, which of course needs to dominate the two pages). Warm colors for the interiors help convey the coziness and safety of th
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I see a lot of reviews regarding facing one's fears, and I definitely see that in the book. But there is a story in the dog that is happening concurrent with Small's fearless actions.

I see the dog as the pursuit of love, of family, of belonging. He was, after all, a stray that happened by. The first thing he did when he saw Small was he put his big face right down in front of her and snuffed at the little girl. For those of us that are dog lovers, we know a good snuff communicates a lot. When m
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
An odd story about how fear magnifies what it is you fear. Each family member in this tale looks outside and sees a black dog that gets bigger and bigger as their fear of it increases. Only one little girl isn't afraid to confront it. What happens to her? Read and find out!

I loved the detailed illustrations here. A little green toy octopus, assorted cats, little figurines also looking scared, and carved toy owls are a few of the objects strewn about and peeking around corners. The house has a co
Friend of Pixie (F.O.P.)
Lovely story about a couple of different things. One is about seeing the world through fear. A stray dog comes to a house and each family member who sees it thinks it's bigger and bigger, until they are barricading themselves behind the furniture, trying to make sure the apparently T-Rex size dog doesn't know they're home. The other is about the power of love and acceptance to overcome fear. But really, for us, the story was about the sweet collection we can have with animals, especially animals ...more
Ellie Labbett
An intricate insight into human instinct when it meets something unusual, to react with fear and distort the reality beyond proportion, or to bravely investigate the source. Some very interesting use of physical perspective used to illustrate internal feelings, and the process of a problem escalating out of control.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I needed help with this odd and original work of art. Fortunately Logan was able to provide it; see their review here: I will consider more by Pinfold. ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2
Great book. I liked how there was usually the main illustration on the right-hand side of the page and then small frames around the text giving a bit more detail to the story. I think it has an important message for children and could be applied to lots of things that children could be scared of such as the dark, monsters under the bed, ghosts etc. I think it would be great as a read aloud, perhaps as part of a PSHCE lesson to discuss. I would recommend this book to children
Elizabeth Jamieson
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant story depicting the ‘blackness’ of depression and how scary it can be!
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an odd, but entertaining story about a family who perceives a dog to be bigger and bigger until the smallest child finally goes out to meet him. It is a wonderful tale about confronting fears and how some things can appear to be more terrible than they really are.

The narrative is fairly short, filled with dialogue and rhyming little couplets. But the highlight of the book are the wonderful illustrations. Most of the two-page spreads have a full page of color illustrations, paired with s
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In a word: classic.

WONDERFUL children's book. This would be a joy to read aloud. The family's dialogue has a comforting feel to it, with just enough repetition so kids can get familiar or help in the storytelling. There are even a few rhymes that could be put to a tune, if you chose to do so.

The look of this book was absolutely enchanting. With its frosty cover and thick pages, it could be a cherished favorite in anyone's home, to be experienced time after time. Color is used in a soft, subtle w
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
1. I confess to a great deal of sentimentality here: my two beloved 100+ pound black dogs are no longer with me, but when they were still alive, they definitely frightened people. In reality, they were HUGE teddy bears who liked nothing better than to sit on your lap and cuddle.

2. The illustrations are amazing in this book: details, rich colors, perspective--it's all here. Every time I read it, I notice something new.

3. The approach: I love that the parents are part of the group that's afraid o
Jane Scholey
Quite simply one of my favourite books for children from the last few years. Yes, I am biased, as I love dogs. I love this story about a family who encounter a large, enormous hound. Pictures are fab!
Stanley Gajda
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pre K – 3 (particularly Grade 2) Adventure Book
Recommended to Stanley by: Kate Greenway Medal and Notable Children's Book Award
Black Dog by Levi Pinfold is a complex, multicultural, quality adventure picture book that explores the reactions of a family to the introduction of a stray dog outside their house. The texture and tone is perfect for read aloud on a chilly fall day! It has won the prestigious Kate Greenway Medal conferred upon the illustrator by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) of Great Britain to recognize "distinguished illustration in a book for children" and has been ...more
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When the Hope family woke up one morning there was a great big black dog outside. Mr. Hope thought it was the size of a tiger and called the police who advised him to just stay inside. Mrs. Hope compared it to an elephant and the family shut the lights off so it wouldn’t know they were there. Adeline woke up and saw a black dog the size of a T-Rex outside the window. She closed the curtains. Maurice woke up and thought it was the size of a Big Jeffy, deciding to stay under the covers. But the li ...more
Nadia Sahar
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-572
Black Dog is a beautifully written mystery with a strong story line and a few important life lessons. However the best feature of the book is the level of engagement it offers; each page has something new for the reader, each turn in the story brings something new to the lime light and keeps the reader engaged till the end.

It is about how a family sees a dog outside their home and because of the fear building up they perceive the size to be getting bigger and bigger until the youngest in the fa
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
(this review originally appeared on my blog )

The Hope family gets up one morning to discover a stray, black dog outside their home. As each member of the family sees it, his size grows larger and larger, through their own fear and lively imagination. They cower fearfully from the massive beast, only the smallest of all, Small Hope, dares to go outside to see it up close. "You're all sillies," she proclaims. The dog is indeed very, very large, but Small leads it
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572
The Black Dog, by Levi Pinfold, is a wonderfully written and illustrated children’s mystery that would be a entertaining read aloud for kindergarten through second graders. The book tells the story of a family who wakes up one morning to find a “big” black dog outside their house. The story unfolds as each member of the family sees the dog and in turn relates its size to increasingly larger and more terrifying animals and creatures. As the rest of the family revels in their terror, the youngest, ...more
Camila Portocarrero
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This book meets the mystery/genre category.
This book is about the Hope family who is terrified by a big black dog that has been standing outside their house and won’t go away. However, the smallest family member of the Hope family, Small, is not afraid of this dog. Small goes out of the house and begins to interact with this dog until it is finally back to its regular size, therefore, the family welcomes the dog into their home. But, was the family really terrified of the dog? Or, did the dog sy
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572, mystery
This book was so wonderful! I loved the classic repetition it used. Each time introducing a new character I think makes the story very engaging for younger readers! This would be a great book to read to students and then allow them to read to themselves because of the repetition . Even if they do not all the words they can use the pictures to help them identify what each Hope family member is dropping and the size of the dog allows them to make predictions about what animal they think he is the ...more
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Black Dog is a story about how our fears can grow and what happens when we face them. It begins when the father in the story spots a frighteningly large black dog outside the house and calls the police. The police laugh and tell him to stay inside. As more members of the family see the dog it becomes bigger and bigger until it is the size of their house. Finally the youngest daughter, Small, tells them they are being ridiculous and goes outside to meet the dog. In a memorable two page spread tha ...more
When this family wakes up one morning, they are frightened by large black dog outside their home. The appears to them to be bigger than their house. Too terrified to assess or deal with the dog situation, the family cowers inside until the youngest child gets up and tackles the problem head on. The black dog follows her as she runs around the house and through the woods, gradually decreasing in size (as her own fear decreases?). By the time they come back home again, the dog is regular-dog-size ...more
The Styling Librarian
Black Dog by Levi Pinfold – This book won the Kate Greenway Medal from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals – What a fascinating book. Had to discuss the content for a while with my son. A family living in a skinny, tall house one by one overreacts to a black dog that was visiting outside the house. How special it was to see the youngest family member be courageous and confront her fears along with the rest of her family’s… just beautiful illustrations. I don’t partic ...more
I really loved this book. At first I assumed it was about depression - Churchill's 'Black Dog' - and while it very well could be, I think even taken as a book simply about facing your fears, this one is brilliant.

The illustrations are beautiful, the characters are interesting (especially Small Hope), and the story has a humorous tone that (potentially) deals with a serious topic.

As picture books go, this one is way up there - and I'm hugely impressed.
Interesting premise! Is the dog REALLY that big? If it is, how did Small know what to do?

I thought of Shaun Tan when I saw these illustrations...Lots to look at, with some very fanciful details.
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Levi Pinfold was born in the Forest of Dean. From a young age he loved books and comics and spent many of his days drawing and writing his own stories.

At the age of seven, Levi went to watercolour classes where he was introduced to the medium that he still works in. His love of stories, painting and the work of illustrators such as Maurice Sendak, Alan Lee and Dave McKean led him to study Illustra

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