If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Would you be a dog that goes ARRRROOOOOOO? Or maybe you would be a sharp-toothed dinosaur that can CHOMP, STOMP, ROAR! Perhaps you might want to be a hopping frog that goes BOING, BOING, RIBBET! But maybe you would want to be the best kind of animal of all: a child!
With joyful, impressionistic illustrations from Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator Chris Raschka and spare, rhythmic text from author Jamie A. Swenson that invites playful interaction, If You Were a Dog is the perfect read-aloud for your favorite little animal.
Being a dog is only one of the options in this exercise, which invites children to imagine life as all kinds of animals (including, at the end, dinosaurs). "If you were a dog, would you be a speedy-quick, lickety-sloppidy, scavenge-the-garbage, frisbee-catching, hot-dog-stealing, pillow-hogging, best-friend-ever sort of dog?" asks Swenson (Boom! Boom! Boom!). In lucid earth-tone and blue-green gouache panels, Raschka (A Ball for Daisy) pictures the active animals conjured by Swenson's compound adjectives, nouns, and verbs. A cat is "sandpaper-licking, purr-purr-purr-purring, furry-stretching," a fish might be a "coral-peeker" or "toe-nibbler," and the set of bugs includes a bee "flower-keeper" and a "water-gliding-skimmer." Story-time speakers may find themselves taking a nonlinear approach, backing up and repeating the queries to let listeners consider different actions and personalities. Swenson's playful language and Raschka's amiable cartoons lend a welcome unpredictability to this animal game. Ages 3 6.