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

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  96 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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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  336 ratings  ·  96 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.
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.
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*
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
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!
Katherine MM
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautifully illustrated book about the power of imagination.
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. . .
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.
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.
Byford's Books
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This exciting new picture book is the work of Dutch author Edward van de Vendel and from what I can tell his first to be published in English. Accompanying Vendel’s story is art from Antwerp based artist/illustrator Anton Van Hertbruggen who has produced some truly captivating images to bring this tale to life.

When I first saw this book I wasn’t sure if I liked it. The art was so different and it contrasted heavily compared to any other picture book around. However, after I picked it up and read
Julie Fortenberry
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
“The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have” is unsettling and odd. Nino (a boy of about seven) has an imaginary dog, depicted in sketchy lines over the landscape. The pet crawls alongside Nino as they stalk a scruffy cat, then he leaps on Great-Grandma’s lap. When Nino takes a rowboat out on the lake, the dog dives into the deep water.

Nino’s father (a pilot) phones from faraway, and the dog hears what Nino hears, and loves “the taste of salt water” in the boy's tears. The mother and great-grandmother are p
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story about a boy named Nino who wants a dog so badly, he creates an imaginary one. He loves his imaginary dog and has many adventures with his scruffy companion. Nino really misses his dad - who is far away - and his imaginary dog helps him cope with his sadness. But then one day - surprise! Nino is given a real dog - A dog that is "soft and sweet and obedient and naughty and small" -- and everyone can see it! His new dog does not behave the way his imaginary dog did - but they s ...more
Taylor B
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a story like this one. It’s a story that epitomizes “Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it!” it’s also a story of inspiration and adventure. The writing is also beautiful, in which it exaggerates and twists the usual sentence structure. It is about a little boy name Nino who seems pretty neglected, as he is depicted most of the time by himself. To keep himself company, he creates an imaginary dog, but soon that dog comes to life! This get Nino thinking: wil ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, art, own
I love Eerdman's books. They tend to publish beautiful, well-made books, whose stories can be just a tad quirky, or at least different in some way to your typical kid's picture book. This one is practically its own work of art, with unique and breath-taking artwork (it seems somehow childish to call them "illustrations") I'd be thrilled to put on my wall, let alone hold in my hands as I flip through a story that is both sad yet sweet, relatable and comforting yet foreign and strange.

The concept,
Adrianna LaGuardia
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Dog That Nino Didn't Have is a book about a child named Nino. Nino escapes his reality of being lonely by creating an imaginary dog. He creates characteristics for the dog that are not exactly realistic. When he gets an actual dog his expectations are set too high so he doesn't know what to think about his new companion. He decides to be content because he can't change the characteristics of his real dog. Instead, he decides to have more imaginary animals to help him cope with his loneliness ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some picture books are beloved by adults and enjoyed by children. They make readers smile and warm their hearts. Other picture books fascinate readers and confuse them a bit and draw them back again and again. The Dog that Nino Didn't Have falls into the latter category. The story is a little mysterious: "Nino had a dog he didn't have/Yes, he had that dog./Even though he didn't have it." Nino and his dog have a series of adventures until, "Suddenly, one day, Nino didn't have the dog that he didn ...more
In this import from Belgium, Nino has marvelous adventures with his imaginary dog. The canine doesn't always behave well, often doing outlandishly and doing the things that Nino might wish that he could do and providing comfort during his father's absences. When Nino finally has a dog of his own, that dog behaves quite differently than his imaginary dog, even being fearful of his great-grandmother just like Nino. When Nino sleeps, he dreams of all the other imaginary creatures that fill his mind ...more
This book was first published in Belgium. I loved the illustrations, so filled with emotion and little scenes. This story is a strange and dark one of a young boy who seems so very lonely that he spends his days with “the dog he doesn’t have” and other imaginary animals. And one day, he also remembers he doesn’t have a lot of other animals which also fill the pages. In an early part of the story, the reader does discover that his dad is far away too, explaining the loneliness. This new tale of i ...more
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