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The Dog That Nino Didn't Have
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The Dog That Nino Didn't Have

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  110 reviews
A beautiful exploration of happiness and hope

Nino doesn't have a dog, but he likes to imagine that he does. His imaginary dog chases squirrels and plays in the lake with him. His imaginary dog licks the tears off Nino's face and helps Nino feel less lonely while his dad is traveling. But when Nino gets a real dog, it's not quite what he expected. As he spends more time wi
Hardcover, 34 pages
Published 2015 by Eerdman's Books for Young Readers (first published April 15th 2013)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  376 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Inventive and original. Beautifully written. Unusual visuals. I like it when I've never seen it (read it) before. Wow.
I don't often review the picture books I read since I move through so many. I've only just started adding them to Goodreads. The Dog That Nino Didn't Have is pretty peculiar. It's oddly moving and leaves--for me--a lingering melancholy. I'm not actually sure how I feel about this book, other than...moved. I don't know to what audience I would read TDTNDH, what demographic of child, if any. But I know that it's left me buzzing and contemplative and that's a wonderful thing.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Nothing beats having an imaginary dog for a constant companion except for a real one. A charming, sensitive example how imagination can provide comfort.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-alena
I love the style of the illustrations in this book. I really like how they show the imaginary animals. It's easy to join in with Nino's imagination. I'd like to see more books by this illustrator. It's interesting how Nino seems to enjoy the imaginary animals more than his eventual real dog. The sad "salty tears" and the dad who is far away show why Nino might want to use his imagination. This is a really good book.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Nino has a dog, but it’s a dog he never had. It’s invisible to everyone else, but Nino can see it clearly. It’s a dog that climbs trees like a squirrel, loves deep water, and likes salty tears. But one day, that dog disappeared and a new dog took his place. It was a dog that everyone could see, one that had it’s own personality that is completely different from Nino’s other dog. Soon though, Nino is enjoying the new dog. But that doesn’t stop him from thinking up lots more animals that he’s also ...more
Vera Godley
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author and illustrator capture the essence of a boy. Of a boy's imagination and how he lives and acts out on his imagination. Of a boy's sadness over the distance or lack of involvement of his father in the boy's life.

Nino wants a dog so his imagination conjures up the dog and he has adventures with chasing squirrels, swimming, and daring to jump in grandma's lap. Finally, this imaginary dog is no more and the reason is that Nino now has a real dog. At the end of the book, Nino is imagining
David Rachel
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This fun book is about a child named Nino who has an active imagination. He has strong feelings of loneliness and to combat those feelings Nino creates an imaginary dog. His imaginary friend comforts, plays, and takes Nino on adventures. Nino's ideas and adventures begin to change when a new member enters his circle. Nino gets a real dog and at first Nino does not know how to feel about this. Eventually Nino learns to love the real dog but that does not stop Nino from creating other animal frien ...more
Ok, I'm giving this five stars, because *I* thought it was amazing, and *I* really loved the art, and *I* am now wondering how hard it would be to build an A-frame cabin on my parents' property in the mountains. But I am fifty years old. I think this book has limited kid appeal. Which, I've said before, I think is fine. Picture books for kids twelve and up, yes, that should totally be a thing. Many picture book masterpieces fit that market.

But just in case someone's looking at this and thinking
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nino wants a dog so he imagines one. The dog that Nino didn’t have does fun things like playing with squirrels, jumping in Great Grandma’s lap and more until one day…when a box arrives for Nino. This is a fun picture book with a great text for anyone who’s ever wanted an animal and not been able to get it. I love how the pictures portray the north with all the pine trees. The color palette reminds me of a sunset with the dark greens and vibrant oranges.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
#loss #imaginary vivid illustrations of a young boy and his environment including an imaginary dog, references to an absent father, and a feared grandmother, a lot of yearning hidden in the images and text.
The story about Nino and the dog he didn't have was a short, but adorable read. The illustrations were AMAZING. I absolutely loved them. I went page to page just to admire the artwork after I finished reading the story.

*Received a copy in exchange for a review*
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
A strange, strange book. Where does Nino live? It looks like he lives in the backwoods of Louisiana. I was not at all a fan of the illustration style, but to each their own! A heavy overtone of sadness in this book that the dog can't quite make all better.
Carrie Gelson
Oh my, my, my. These illustrations are beyond amazing. And I love the thoughtful, philosophical aspect of the storyline.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Dog Nino Didn't Have by Edward van de Vendel is a story about Nino and his imaginary friend. They go on adventures through the woods together and area always together. The imaginary dog and Nino play in the lake together, and Nino imagines the dog giving him affection, such as licking his face. The imaginary dog also makes Nino feel better whenever his dad has to travel for work. Nino eventually gets a real dog. The real dog is not what Nino was expecting because it acts differently from w ...more
Ramon Requena
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 230
This story focuses on a boy that has an imaginary dog who plays with him at all times. This comes about the fact that boy does not see his father and is lonely for the most part. Once he gets a real dog, he starts playing with this dog and also starts to imagine more animals to fill the void within him. The story has a very bland pace to it but the points are interesting enough to follow.
The media of the book is colored pencil and it gives the pages a rough feeling to them. Even though there are
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I like this book because WOOF WOOF the dog was imaginary; he thought he had a dog but he really did not because it was imaginary. And whenever people saw him, they didn't see him because he was imaginary. My opinion was mostly about: I didn't really like the illustrations; this was more or a grownup book, or maybe a teenager book. And because I didn't like the words. It was not super imaginary, the only imaginary thing was the dog; the part that I mostly liked was the end.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
My son picked up The Dog that Nino Didn't Have by Edward van de Vendel. It's a quiet book that feels very ethereal. I was enthralled with the lyrical language, and I enjoyed it. The book is odd, and it is quite philosophical. I suspect folks either love or hate this one, which always offers space for great conversations!
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
A unique, playful examination of the difference between imagination and reality, and how fantasy doesn't necessarily get displaced when what's imagined comes true. Fascinating, unusual illustrations with a deep, limited color pallet and layered with complexity and quirk that compliments the text.
Meghan Hunt
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jp-picture-books
I loved the artwork and the visual composition of this book and the general idea of the story, but it's really clunky to read. It's almost a tongue twister.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Beautiful illustrations, but the story was kind of sad and even a wee bit forgettable for me. . .
Katherine MM
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautifully illustrated book about the power of imagination.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2018
Didn't love it, but the art was gorgeous.
Deuce Naftel
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elliot
The story is great, but the illustrations are just fantastic. They elevate the book from cute to amazing. It is a more thoughtful book than most children's books.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet and beautiful story and the artwork is ab-so-lutely STUNNING! Truly beautiful art.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved the muted colors and nostalgic feel of the illustrations in this gorgeous picture book about a boy and his great imagination.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Would have given it a 5 for the illustrations alone.
jacqueline (children's book account)
5 stars for the amazing illustrations
Nov 25, 2019 added it
Originally I liked the oversize-ness with the early artwork like the Hilda books, but unfortunately the strangeness of this book threw me off.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-favorites
such great illustrations and the concepts of friend ship, pets and imagination.
Eileen Winfrey
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the detailed illustrations and how the story went from the hoped for pet dog to the actual pet dog. We’ll see what the kids think.
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