by Amanda Harvey
Doubleday, January, 2003.
Picture Book, 32 pages.
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Those children who have already met Otis will be delighted to enjoy his new set of problems. Told from a dog's view of the world, Dog Days explores the emotions that Otis feels one morning when he discovers that Lucy and her little sister have brought home a meowing fluffball of a kitten.
Any child who has felt neglected and ignored when a new sibling is added to the family will identify with the problems of this now neglected family dog. Otis is puzzled because he sees no need to add a kitten to the household when they already have a good dog. Not only is Otis' breakfast forgotten, but his bead is not fluffed and his fur is not brushed. Otis is left with only one recourse: run away from home and taste freedom.
Like many a child growing up Otis contemplates what life might be like living with other families. In the park he fantasizes about the lives and families of the other dogs he sees. Do they have to put up with a kitten? As he wanders through the town, Otis passes Max's house and unfortunately is tempted to steal some of the family's barbecue and is banished to the laundry room to spend the night.
At last, Otis must make a decision. He kisses Max goodnight and runs home to Lucy where he is welcomed as a best friend. Otis is so happy, he decides to show the kitten one of his favorite tricks.
The illustrations in Dog Days are as intuitive as the story. The expressions on Otis' face show great understanding of the emotions, as well as of people. Colored in soft pastels, this gentle story will be understood on several levels by any child lucky enough to read it.
--Sarah Reaves White
Reprinted with permission from The Internet Writing Journal®.
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