Gina Dawson (text) and Vivienne Da Silva (illustrator), Next Door’s Dog is a Therapy Dog, New Holland Publishers, January 2020, 32 pp.,, RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760791360
This brightly coloured, square-shaped hardback book is a the third in a series by Gina Dawson about assistance dogs. In a readable and engaging text, we learn about the contrasting temperaments of different dogs and their suitability in service roles with people. Not every dog had the appropriate personality for hospital visiting.
Leah goes to the hospital with Nan, and Nan’s dog Monty. Monty is a comforting presence for many sad and ill people. “Monty gives hope,” Nan explains.
The illustrations are clear and the colours harmonious. The pictures are cartoon-style flat drawings with strong outlines, gentle colours and simple backgrounds. Several of the characters are depicted wearing eyeglasses, one uses a wheelchair, and there is a subtle attempt to depict characters of different ethnicities.
The dogs are drawn in an appealing style. All the dogs are shown to be smiling. The story is told in present tense and the information embedded within it is mainly given through straightforward exchanges of dialogue that are both readable and positive in tone.
The reader learns, with Leah, that pet dogs and therapy dogs are special in different ways, with different roles to play in people’s lives. This book has a role to play in every school and library, helping children to understand the help that therapy dogs can provide in the community. Suitable for stage 1 and 2.
Reviewed by Julie Thorndyke